Updated: Feb 27, 2020
What is solution implementation?
Solution implementation is the process of implementing and adapting innovative solutions so that they work seamlessly with the rest of a business. It makes sure that quality solutions are not wasted or underutilized and is the final step in solving a company's problem.
What this post is about
When businesses have a problem, the natural thing to do is try and find innovative solutions. Once these solutions are bought from sellers, however, they need to be properly implemented if they are to work well. This post will go into the approaches most commonly used when approaching solution implementation as well as the steps one needs to take when doing so.
Are you an experienced consultant in some business or technology implementation areas and ready to participate in implementations of innovative projects? Are you looking for a guide to point you in the right direction? Are you searching for good employment opportunities? Then look no further.
This post will tell you what you need to know about implementing innovative solutions and towards the end will feature a part where we, the PGN, introduce ourselves and tell you how joining us can benefit you.
Without further ado, let us get started.
What is the role of a solution implementer?
As a solution implementer, your job is to take innovative solutions that a company has purchased and make sure that they are properly integrated into the rest of the business and workflow. This means that there are no hiccoughs or weak areas and that following the implementation everything is working smoothly together with the new solution.
This is a delicate and complicated process that takes time, knowledge, and management skills. You will simultaneously need to be good at planning, working with others, and executing strategies if you are to be an effective solution implementer. If this all sounds a little daunting, then do not be discouraged as our guide will help you along.
Most used approaches
According to https://pmtips.net/article/project-implementation-approaches, there are three main approaches to implementing innovative solutions: parallel implementation, phased implementation, and crash implementation. We will now take a look at each and briefly describe them.
With parallel implementation, the system is being set up while the old system is still running in parallel. This means that there is no disruption to workflow while the new system is installed. Once the solution has been implemented, the old system can be switched off and all operations transferred to the new system.
Sometimes it simply is not feasible to expect an entire company to switch over to a new system all at once. If that is the case, a group-by-group approach is necessary where the staff is gradually rolled on to the new way of doing things. Eventually, the entire company will be using the new system without much disruption to the flow of operations.
A crash implementation is also known as a full-blown implementation and involves switching over the entire company to the new system all at once. It is a risky endeavor and requires careful planning and re-planning to make sure nothing goes awry. This approach should also be taken and utilized only during slow periods like weekends or holidays.
Stages of the implementation process
We will now go over the necessary steps one needs to take when implementing an innovative solution. They are taken from BDO IT Solutions and are geared for software solutions. This is not an issue as most modern tech solutions are software-based anyway and we will do our best to generalize them for any type of solution.
It is important to keep in mind that every solution will be different to implement, especially if you are using a different implementation approach. Nevertheless, these can serve as a broad outline of the process which can be always consulted if the need arises.
Stage 1 - Planning
In this first step, which should be done well in advance of the actual implementation, your task is to figure out how you will go about the entire process. It helps to ask yourself questions such as who will work on the project or what are the main goals and objectives, who will use the system. You will also need to know details such as whether the solution is cloud or on-premise (in the case of the latter you will have to work out the hardware requirements). The way of gathering and documenting business requirements and processes will likewise need to be figured out. Thinking about security is important too, and do not forget about the method of communication that the team will use.
Step 2 - Process Design
Process design, as the name suggests, is structured around designing and defining a process that works for the company implementing the solution. Most solutions come with pre-determined processes which can sometimes be a very bad fit for some businesses. Therefore it is necessary to realize what is wanted and needed from the solution and in what way exactly it can be implemented. A good way to work on process design is to enlist the help of business advisors who understand better how the company works. Consulting the software vendor is likewise recommended since they, being the people who are selling the software, are bound to have some good recommendations.
Step 3 - Solution Design
Solution design is the next step and it involves seeing how the solution you are implementing will mesh with the needs of the company. For example, if you are dealing with software, it must work with all pieces of data which the company needs to work with. If the last step was determining what you need the solution to do, this step is all about how it is supposed to do it. In this step, you should also design a roadmap.
Step 4 - Configuration
Configuration refers to configuring all of the solution's out-of-the-box capabilities without it yet being optimized specifically for the company implementing it. Again in the example of financial software, imagine there is a place for a target market in it but the company in question's target market has not yet been configured. Following configuration, the solution should be installed and functioning but not yet quite set up for the uses of the target company.
Step 5 - Customization
Although some of the solution's out-of-the-box options will work for any given company, after configuration it still needs to be properly customized to fulfill the exact needs of the target company. Customization adds unique new features and capabilities which can sometimes make it quite different from the vanilla version. Taking software as an example, that may mean adding fields for certain types of data and information. After customization, the solution should work the way that the business its being implemented into needs it to work.
Step 6 - Integration
After configuring and customizing the solution, it is time for integration. Through the integration process, the goal is to get the solution to run smoothly with the company's overall system in a way that it does not require a lot of manual interference. It is important to time integrations right and not be afraid to do integration planning and design simultaneously.
Step 7 - Report Writing
The most important thing with report writing is to be clear on the language and format of the report. After all, in the modern business world reports are not always expected or desired to come in a printed format. Discuss it with the person you are reporting to or, if you are requesting the report, be clear about your requirements and expectations. It is also important to note that report writing should be done simultaneously with the implementation process. After this step, the system will hopefully be ready for testing.
Step 8 - Training
Next, it is time to train the company members on how to properly utilize the innovative solution to its full potential. There are several types of training. If you are training the project team, they should be exposed to the solution right from the beginning, before even the customization stage. Training trainers is also important because it is good to have multiple people skilled in the new system. Testers need to be trained in a long and involved manner so that they can make sure that everything is working properly. Finally, end-users need to be trained only on the functions they will perform in the system. Training is an ongoing process.
Step 9 - Testing
Just like training, testing is another one of those ongoing steps which should not be done at any particular time, but rather throughout the whole implementation process and even afterward. Testing is when you actually test the new system to make sure everything is working properly. There are several kinds. Unit testing refers to testing features and functions in an isolated manner. Project team testing usually means testing a group of features that work together. Integration testing checks to see if all parts of the new system are working together in harmony. Finally, we have end-user testing where the end-users see whether the functions they are supposed to perform are working properly.
Step 10 - Data Conversion
The important thing to keep in mind with data conversion is that you want to convert as little of the company's data as possible so that it can easily switch between systems if the need arises. This step can be tricky because often the old types of data will not be that compatible with the new system considering that the whole point is to do things differently. You will have to convert your master and transaction records. Data conversion should be thought about during the entire process and it is important to have experts on it on your team.
Step 11 - Deployment
During deployment, it is important to keep three things in mind: planning, practice, and communication. Planning is important to make sure everything works well together. Practice will ensure that the steps of the plan are well-rehearsed and ready for the go-live. Communication is important because all the different team members will need to work together and communicate well with one another.
Step 12 - Project Management
Realistically, project management is not so much a final step as it is something you should pay attention to throughout the entire implementation process. It includes status reporting, which means generating regular status reports and running regular status meetings. It also involves control calls and meetings. Finally, you need to pay attention to the scope of the operation and make sure that nobody is doing unnecessary tasks but rather focusing on the implementation process.
How to become a solution implementer
Well, we have given you the approaches and steps to implementing innovative solutions, but how does one go about becoming a solution implementer? The most important part is finding a quality business to work with that will equip you with the proper resources and guidance.
We at PGN Global specialize in connecting the producers of innovative solutions with businesses that need them. Other than handling things like sales outsourcing with our competent sellers, we also offer positions such as that of the advisor and, you guessed it, implementer.
PGN Global recognizes the importance of not only acquiring an innovative business solution but also of properly implementing it. If you are interested in the role of a solution implementer then look no further and get in touch with us.
And there you have it. In this post, we have clarified what solution implementation is, discussed the role of a solution implementer, and went over the basic approaches. We have also included a fairly comprehensive step-by-step implementation guide. Finally, we have offered advice on how best to become a solution implementer, drawing close attention to the openings at our organization, PGN Global.
The role of a solution implementer is a wonderful way to be involved in the modern business world. It is an important step that can be sorely missed if overlooked, which makes you an invaluable asset to anyone. If that sounds appealing to you, do not hesitate to contact us.