In this post, Maygan Cianflone, our Executive Director of Implementations and Professional Services, talks about the necessary steps needed for a successful implementation.
Successful implementations are at the forefront of everything that we do at Nextenture. Working within the client’s budget, delivering on its timeline, and tailoring the product and the implementation to its needs will, in turn, increase revenue to stores. Below is a brief synopsis of our approach.
Scoping/Planning (~1 week)
Our goal is to ensure that all parties – the solution provider, implementation teams, and the client – are on the same page for planning and executing a successful implementation. In other words, there needs to be complete transparency regarding mutual expectations. Project plans, initial charter meetings, and kickoffs are critical to this stage in the implementation process, and the project manager and subject matter experts play crucial roles.
Solution Design (~4 weeks)
At this point, it is clear which high level functions the client is looking for within the product. That, however, is just the beginning. A deeper level of understanding organizational differentiators, culture, and needs is required. This goes beyond knowing a client’s vertical; Subject Matter Experts and Product Experts will run requirements analyses and pass them onto relevant teams within the client to help guide the decision making process.
Configuration (~6 weeks)
The configuration is the skeleton of the client’s implementation, where the implementation team tailors the solution to the customer’s requests and requirements. Configuration is a cross team effort, with setup completed by both Nextenture and the client. This phase is iterative, with configurations made and outputs tested. Sometimes, setups are scrapped because they fall out of scope, need more dependencies built in, or, following deeper review, the teams find a simpler approach to achieve the end goal.
Build (~6 weeks)
The build phase is where you add the “real meat” to the software. It requires attaching all the feeds from existing client human resources (“HR”) systems and creating multiple environments for the product. At this point, the pre-production environment is built and business processes have been proved. Now, system integration testing can begin. This timeline can be shorter or longer depending on IT resource availability.
The goal of this phase is to have a set of pilot stores set up, end-to-end and ready to use a functional QA environment. A key difference in this phase is the critical role of the implementation engineer due to increased technical requirements.
Training (~1 week)
Training is led by the client business sponsor to a selected group of field users. This is to ensure solution adoption and that the customer has control over its deployment. In this phase, Nextenture will provide curriculum and classroom training materials.
Solution Validation (1-2 weeks)
In this step, clients bring store leaders to test the product, not just the trainers and not anyone from management or corporate teams. Pilot store leaders provide valuable feedback and communicate with their piers in other stores, ensuring that everyone is on board with the same solution and existing processes.
Rollout (~2 weeks)
Depending on the client, it may either run a solution to pilot stores themselves with Nextenture support, or it can be driven by the implementation teams themselves to handle any necessary projects. In this stage, the product experts stay on board to guide the teams via a mix of support, consulting, and project management.
When Nextenture handles implementations, client involvement is crucial for optimum success. We know the importance of maintaining communication through every step of the implementation – that way, once we hit pilot stores, there are no surprises.