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The road from Manchester to Leeds was always busy on Monday mornings but I arrived on time after a two-hour car journey. I introduced myself to the receptionist and said that I had an appointment with Steve the Service Director. She spoke on the phone and asked me to wait while Steve came to collect me from reception.

It was day one of phase two of an implementation project. Financials had been implemented much quicker than we had planned due to a creaking-old legacy system finally giving up just before the payroll run. We were now starting with service related modules to handle the front-end systems and to manage the scheduling of routine and ad-hoc service jobs.

Steve collected me, took me to his office, pointed at an old XENIX server in the corner and stated ‘There she is. I’ll leave you to it. Let me know when it’s ready’.

I was a little stunned and wondered if he was serious. He was! He fully expected that I would take the old server, extract the data, configure the new modules, load the data to the new system and finally show him and his department how to use it.

After a lengthy and interesting discussion we finally agreed that a better result would be achieved if we worked on this together. The resulting implementation took at least a day each week of his time plus a great deal of the time of his key staff over a six-month period.

This is an extreme example of how some companies underestimate the effort required from them to successfully implement a new software solution. Implementation is a collaborative effort that should be used to fully explore the opportunities to review and refine all processes and workflows.

Implementing a new system is the perfect opportunity to take all your procedures and workflows back to a blank canvas and ask ‘What’s the best way of handling this?’ Refinements may not be in the system at all; they may be adjustments to your processes outside the system. At Fenwick we can guide you through the whole process and make use of ‘best practice’ built into the system.

Don’t rush and squander this rare opportunity.