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Installing a Business Solution

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In the previous Decisions phase, the groundwork for the implementation of a solution was made. The next step is the installation of the solution, which itself requires a number of important, initial decisions in a "Pre-Installation" phase. These decisions will resolve how the objectives determined in the previous phase will be achieved.

Getting Started

The first step of the pre-installation phase is to assemble the right team for the job. A proper team is critical to your success. These are the people who will shape and mold the implementation. Chances are that there will be a wide variety of users interacting with the completed installation, so there should be a good cross-section of this variety to work together on the installation as well. The key questions for the team building phase include:

  • What are the major groups that will interact with the new product?
  • Who in these groups can provide the necessary information for the installation's success, and make key decisions?
  • How much time is required from these individuals?
  • What are the roles within the project team, and who is responsible for the processes impacted by the new solution?

Developing the Plan

Through the input of the installation team, the plan will begin to develop. The hard objectives of the project and its intended impact will crystallize as key questions are answered about how the success of the project will be defined, how the solution witll be used and what business processes will be enhanced by the solution.

  • What processes will the project enhance? Will the technology be the sole change, or will a cultural transformation be required as well?
  • What are the methods and applications the drive the process that will be enhanced, and how will the new solution integrate with or replace these items?
  • Who will be the first groups to use the software? What data or functions do they need- what are their priorities?

As the plan coalesces, a road map of the installation should emerge that encompasses the transition of data, processes and responsibilities from the former system to the new one.

Installing the Solution

With the right team and a solid plan in place, the installation and implementation of the solution can begin. In some cases, a pilot is used to test the solution in an actual business setting before launching it organization-wide. At this point, your knowledge of the solution and the plan for its installation should be crystal clear. You should be able to answer key questions including:

  • The primary functions of the groups using the solution.
  • The information and tools the solution will provide them to support their work.
  • The flow of information through the new system, and its integration points with other systems in use.
  • Where the solution will reside in your organization's infrastructure, and who is responsible for it.

Business software implementation cartoon

View a larger version of our business software implementation comic.