When launching a new AMS platform, people often plan for the “go-live” and less so for the daily use, new integrations, and ongoing management that the system will require. As a companion to our previous joint webinar, Life After Launch, Rebecca Achurch of Achurch Consulting breaks apart the first 12+ months into manageable pieces so that you know what to expect when your new system goes live.
The first three months are the craziest. Time will fly by, and staff will be both excited and terrified to use the new system. The primary focus in the first three months is:
- Ensure the system is stable
- The users are supported
- That you haven’t created “bad” (i.e. redundant, unnecessary, etc.) data
Here are a few things to keep in mind during this time frame:
- Everything is brand new and everyone is learning, so except a few hiccups.
- Strive to make as few changes as possible – Only fix critical items, DO NOT add new features or functions.
- Keep your project launch team together as you continue to work on implementing your new system.
- Keep operations as smooth as possible by keeping your staff and SOPs updated as you transition to a new support team.
- Get engaged with your new software user community for tips and for building your own support network.
During this time period as staff begins to settle in, it’s a good time to explore some small process improvements. It’s also a great time to make sure users are developing good new habits vs. bad ones. The following are outcomes and functions that take place during this phase:
- Take a deep dive through your data to understand how your users are using the system.
- A new eagerness to try new functions and features arises from departments that are feeling more comfortable with the system.
- Retrain users on existing functionality if there are gaps where users are not using your system as intended.
- Functions that you needed to omit from the get-go have now been realized.
- Have a process in place to prioritize which elements you want to tackle first.
After about six months using a new system, you will begin to realize some operating efficiencies. Take time to celebrate! It may be tempting at this point to dissolve the core implementation team but resist that urge. Instead focus on sharing successes and lessons learned within the team.
- Users are now able to leverage the new system.
- Old ways of thinking are gone, new ways of thinking have taken root and business processes are largely back to normal.
- This is the time to start thinking about what comes next, and why it’s important to continue your budget through 12+ months.
- New integrations and functions can continue to build on your existing system.
Now that you’ve completed a full business cycle, it’s time to start thinking about your first upgrade! Take time to review the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and begin planning with the team.
- Systems should be in place that allow your AMS to function as a program rather than a project.
- Divide the time spent on your system across:
- Upgrades (which should ideally be automatic) and supports
- Questions and small projects
- Projects and advancements
- Most resources will go towards essential activities and small operational enhancements.
- Make sure to preserve time and allow for a budget to tackle strategic organizational initiatives and transformational changes.
After launching your new AMS, it’s most important to remember that continuous improvement and investment is needed to fully utilize the system. A new car will only continue to run smoothly if it receives continual maintenance, like regular oil changes. Your AMS program is the same way. After investing your time and money, don’t let your progress lapse by forgetting that this is an ongoing program. With deep focus at the beginning of your new AMS journey, and exploration and growth at the end, your launch will be successful.
Rebecca Achurch is the founder and inspiration behind Achurch Consulting. She takes the lead with clients on the implementation of complex IT solutions. Rebecca aligns the needs of clients’ business and staff with the right technology and processes to support it. If you would like to contact Rebecca, click please click Achurch Consulting for more information.
If you are interested in viewing a recording of the Life After Launch webinar in its entirety, please complete the form below and a link to the recording will be emailed to you.