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Your AMS Journey: Selection to Adoption – Step 7: Implementation
By Noel Shatananda | January 21, 2021

Well, it’s time to begin! In Your AMS Journey, Implementation is the execution phase of the whole endeavor. In Step 6 you defined the scope of your project, and the System Implementer (SI) will now begin to bring your vision to life.

The key is structure, accountability and discipline. While the earlier stages of the project have been planning, this is the building phase. Imagine looking at your brand new house coming to shape one brick at a time.

Structure

Most system integrators use an Agile delivery model. They tend to configure/develop for a sprint (usually 2 – 3 weeks) and demonstrate their work at the end of it. This model of delivery has proven to be the most successful since it allows you to provide feedback along the way, protecting your investment. It is recommended that you take these demo sessions very seriously and provide the SI the feedback they need. Fixing issues discovered early is far easier and cheaper than when they are caught later on in the process.

Unit Level Testing

As you receive these sprint level demonstrations from the SI, devise a plan with them to conduct unit level testing along the way. For example, when your membership module is being set up: the first sprint was dedicated to the basic setup of your memberships purely with out of the box features, and the next sprint is dedicated to develop some customizations around the special pricing you need.

At the end of the first sprint, you should consider having your membership staff look at what has been set up and get some hands-on experience. At the end of the second sprint, your membership staff should begin some unit level testing of the features developed. As stated earlier, this gives you the opportunity to provide feedback and impact the course of the work quicker.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

As you go through the implementation phase of your project, we recommend that you build out your SOPs along the way, rather than at the end. This has been proven key to the success of many projects. The point to keep in mind here is that the SOP will serve as your final User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase, in addition to the test cases that the SI will provide you.

We have had clients overlook this, come to the UAT phase, and have nothing to use as a basis for their UAT. As go live approaches, the tension in a project increases, and the SOP task is frequently overlooked in lieu of all the other items that need immediate attention. Many times, clients fail to realize that the SOP is what their new staff members will use to learn the system.

Accountability and Discipline is Vital

Please ensure you keep yourself and your core team members accountable to the commitment of time and attention towards this project. It is during implementation that the ball gets dropped. There is high enthusiasm during the discovery and planning phase since time is explicitly allocated for those activities.

During the implementation, tasks like answering SI questions on time, conducting unit testing, attending status meetings are more are frequently overlooked for more pressing daily tasks that need to be completed. We have seen projects slip off the rails during the implementation phase more than once.

Sponsor Meetings

We recommend that monthly sponsor meetings be held between the client sponsor of the project and the SI sponsor. This can be the checkpoint where the project can be course corrected if required. While the project teams are hard at work in the trenches, the client sponsor hears feedback from the rest of the organization in addition to the project team. This insight can sometimes vary from what the project team perceives as the state of the project, giving the client sponsor an early opportunity to take corrective action internally as well as with the SI (if required).

Start The Data Conversion Early

Your efforts to evaluate your existing data for its cleanliness should have begun before the start of the project. If not, this is more or less the last chance. Contemplate a data governance project if one is required. If you need external help with data extraction, it’s time to get those vendors identified and contracted. More about this in the data conversion blog next!

Set Up a Payment Gateway Early

The selection and basic setup of your payment gateway needs to be completed as soon as implementation begins. Many may argue the timing is too early, but our experience has been that the legal paperwork involved with the providers and the pace at which these providers operate is in months.

Go lives have been held up in the past purely because the payment gateway was set up thwarting the possibility to support online transactions. Further complication is added if you are transferring from one gateway provider to another especially if you have periodic scheduled payments. Again, a topic for a blog post of its own!

Stay Tuned For More

While most of your project has been planning, the implementation phase is finally where you get to start executing. Remember to keep enthusiasm and processes as you shift to a new phase of the project.

Implementation is a major step, but it is not the end of Your AMS Journey! Stay tuned for our upcoming blog on data conversion from your legacy AMS to new system. Remember, don’t hesitate to reach out to fusionSpan with any AMS questions you might have!

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Noel enjoys collaborative environments and is driven by the challenges of a growing industry. He values putting client goals first, explaining, “When we enable clients to be the best they can be, the company automatically benefits; it’s simply the by-product of fully enabling passionate human beings.” Noel heads up the Delivery Team and is constantly working to strategically move fusionSpan forward toward its vision of bridging gaps through technology.

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