January 12, 2017
“Winter is Coming.” Popularized by the HBO series “Game of Thrones”, this statement is meant to convey the need for preparation for expected events. Not too different from preparing for a Go Live.
War rooms, dedicated phone lines, Help Desks. All important elements that are included in Post Implementation Support*. But is that all that is needed? Is there more to this Post Implementation Support than just the immediate time period after a Go live? When should an organization start planning for it? How long should it last?
This 3-part blog series will provide you with answers to the above questions and walk you through a successful Post Implementation Support structure.
Post Implementation Support is a lot broader than organizations generally realize and contain gaps that most are unaware of. Beginning with a successful implementation to ensure that the support needs are limited to exception use cases, Post Implementation Support can be broken down into 3 phases:
1. Pre-Go Live, or “Preparation”
2. Immediate Post-Go Live, or as we like to think about it, “Silence is Bliss”
3. Long Term Support, or “Handling the Known Unknowns”
This blog will address the first phase, “Preparation.”
Effective Preparation has three core elements:
1. System design with the end user in mind
The first key element of Preparation is a system design with the end user in mind. An end user will most always take the path of least resistance, which generally means not following new processes or methods. However, when a configuration is performed correctly to reduce the user work effort, the users will proactively follow the new design. The goal of end user adoption is to assist in making the design as simple and user friendly as possible. When a tool and its configurations are simple, users are more likely to problem solve on their own and do not need as much assistance from a support team.
2. Stakeholder buy-in
The next item needed for effective Preparation is Stakeholder buy-in. To achieve this, organizations must bring their main Stakeholders in during the design phase to communicate their thoughts on the new tool and processes. Enhanced Stakeholder engagement during design ensures buy-in and converts Stakeholders into project champions to evangelize the system throughout the organization. With ample Stakeholder buy-in, the Go Live changes from a “top down” command of system usage to a group effort of streamlining current processes.
3. Effective Change Management plan
The third item needed for successful Preparation is an effective Change Management plan. Change management tends to be one of the most underestimated parts of an implementation. The basic idea of Change Management is the understanding of the impact when transitioning from current state to future state and equipping the end users with the tools and training necessary to self-manage the transition. The communication to end users can be delivered through regular email updates, training materials, quick reference guides and regular updates from the Stakeholders.
When an implementation is successfully executed, the above points will prepare the end users for a successful Go-Live with limited external support. The next phase of Post Implementation Support, which covers the immediate direct support needed after Go Live, will be addressed in next month’s blog, “Silence is Bliss.”
The Shelby Group
* Post Implementation Support is also known by other names such as “Hypercare”. But in the end, it is all about focused support for the adoption of a new system.