We’re approaching the conclusion of this six-part series on how ease of use is the number one criterion when choosing a Policy Management solution.
Last time, we looked at the importance of ease of training; leading on from that, in this fifth part of the series, we are going to evaluate ease of deployment and getting your new policy management system up and running as quickly as possible.
A study from SandHill concluded that human interaction and communication clarity are the most important ingredients to a good software rollout:
The major factor is IT engagement with business management. If a productive dialogue prevails, then any software system deployment has a good chance of considerable success by all measures. If not, a major software project will achieve moderate benefits at best.
So, what does this really mean? And where does deployment differ from training? Deployment can be defined as “the action of bringing resources into effective action.” In terms of software, deployment is all of the activities that make a software system available for use. Some of these activities include:
- User Acceptance Testing
- Go Live
Let’s take a look at each of the activities in a bit more detail:
Rollouts and user adoption are what keep IT up at night. From an IT perspective, if the vendor provides a SaaS solution (and your organisation allows this approach), you can keep IT involvement to a minimum. Using the SaaS option means that the software can be installed and ready for training/testing in much less time than if you had to provision the correct hardware and allocate a resource to get the environment ready for the software install.
This reduces the time spent on installation and configuration, and can reduce the issues that can get in the way of software deployment.
We discussed training in part four of this blog series, but in summary you want to make sure that you can be up and running with the Policy Management solution with a minimal amount of relevant training, therefore making the most of your investment. Also, I spoke about how implementing a policy management solution is not just about training but also about education, so you are given the tools to be successful and drive success across the organisation.
User Acceptance Testing:
Once the training is completed, you should allocate a suitable period of time to practice what you have learnt in order to clarify and document how your organisation is going to use the tool. You need to find a vendor who is going to support you in this activity, help you identify the right people to take part in the testing, and provide guidance and best practice along the way.
The vendor should also be able to talk about what they have seen work well with other customers and, just as importantly, what hasn’t worked so well and any lessons learnt. The outcome of this UAT period is to make sure that all stakeholders understand how the Policy Management solution is going to be used across the organisation, ensuring that go live is smooth and successful.
So, the solution is installed, the right people have been trained, and you’ve completed your UAT activities. Your chosen vendor should providesthe necessary support during your go-live period, ensuring that the solution rollout is as smooth and stress-free as possible. It’s important to understand what level of support the vendor offers, such as an on-site presence or a dedicated telephone resource.
Once go-live is completed and the Policy Management solution is now ‘business as usual.’ the vendor needs to provide the relevant levels of ongoing support so they can deal with any queries or questions that may arise.
A few final tips for Policy Management deployment
Finally, there are a number of tips that I would like to offer to help make the transition to the new Policy Management solution and its deployment as smooth and efficient as possible:
- Firstly, make sure you are promoting the benefits so everybody is on board with the new Policy Management solution and understand why it is being introduced into the organisation (bear in mind the Sandhill quote about “productive dialogue”).
- Secondly, develop a scheduling and rollout strategy so that employees are comfortable with the new tool. Clarity is the key – each stakeholder needs to understand how the implementation affects them.
- Next, place all the deployment & rollout tasks on a timeline and ensure that everyone is on board with this schedule.
- Finally, it’s important that employees are asked for and can provide feedback. Showing employees that their opinion counts will most likely result in beneficial suggestions, which in turn lead to a more positive onboarding process.
Join me again next week for the final entry in this serie. I’ll I will be looking at ease of ongoing development, so you can configure, maintain and expand your use of the Policy Management solution without continuous vendor assistance.