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You’d be forgiven for breaking into a cold sweat after reading the title of this article – thinking about something that has the potential to disrupt yourself, your team and your whole business can do that to a person.
After all, the management information software (MIS) system is at the core of every department and (if you’re doing it right) integrates with your other key software and hardware. So swapping it out is bound to have an impact on the day-to-day running of your company.
Unfortunately, we don't have a secret solution or magic trick to protect you from this. But we can help you make it that little bit easier. If you consider all the items below, and make sure that you have the right resources in place, you can minimize the disruption and make things a little easier on you and your team.
Here’s our 4 step guide to minimizing the pain:
Below are the 6 key areas that you need to consider. Unless you’re sticking to your existing hourly cost rates, you should have a section for each in your Implementation Plan.
Hourly cost rates – You’ll need to make a decision about whether you’ll be using your existing hourly cost rates or if you’re going to calculate new ones.
Data collection – There’s a large amount of information required during the initial setup phase and the success of the project is dependent on this being complete and accurate. You should ensure that all data is collated before your first consultancy visit from your MIS partner. Your print MIS partner may be able to help you with this part – new Tharstern customers are sent a set of online forms that guide them through what data they need and in what format they need to collect it in.
You’ll need to consider how you’re going to extract the required data from your current MIS and/or account package and how you’re going to cleanse it. Who will perform this task? Set deadlines.
You’ll need to have a plan to gather the following data:
Once you’ve set a realistic timeline for collecting the necessary data required to set up the software, you can start thinking about a date for the software to be implemented. Talk to your print MIS partner about this, run through the milestones you have so far with them and agree a realistic implementation schedule together.
And one final piece of important advice - don’t cut corners. One of the biggest regrets that some of our customers have when reflecting on an installation is that they tried to bend the system to fit a previous way of working. Whilst an MIS can be very flexible, there’s always a core workflow that connects the modules throughout the system, so if you try to cheat it, you’ll almost certainly suffer the consequences somewhere along the line. To quote one of our customers: “If you see something in your way then try to get over it because if you try to get past by bending it, it will spring back and hit the person behind’.
It’s important to have someone technical to hand – we’ve known projects where something as simple as an unknown password has set the project back by a whole day. So you’ll need to make sure that you have someone available who’s familiar with the following:
Once the go-live date has passed, you might be tempted to decommission the Implementation Team – don’t! You’ll need them to evaluate the MIS over time and ensure that the system changes if your business needs do. You should create a Constant Improvement Plan that considers how to:
It’s important to keep up to date with any new changes to the software – any decent MIS has a roadmap of constant improvement and you should be taking advantage of any new releases. Send a key member of the Implementation Team to vendor ‘open days’ or user group meetings to:
The above has been compiled from many years of experience of MIS implementation projects and includes some valuable lessons learned from both ourselves and our customers to help you lead the way. If you’ve got any additional lessons or advice for a successful MIS migration project, we’d love to hear them in the comments box below.