Due dates. Everyone has them, everyone wants them. Whether it’s building a house or implementing an Enterprise Quality Management Software (QMS) solution. What does home construction have to do with going live with a new QMS solution? There are actually quite a few similarities.
Create Realistic Build Time Expectations
Houses come in all different shapes and sizes, each with different variations and features. The same can be said about Enterprise QMS software. While there might be base out-of-the-box solutions, just like a spec home, they might not come close to what you really need. The big difference, however, is in how people view due dates with regards to building a home. A house is a physical product that needs construction workers pounding nails and electricians pulling wires. Therefore, people have a better understanding that it takes time to physically build a house and what factors contribute to delays. With software though, the construction phase is often misunderstood and unrealistic implementation timelines are set.
Three Considerations for Establishing a QMS Implementation Timeline
(1) Level of configuration vs. customization.
Unless you are implementing software with no configuration options (like QuickBooks) or out of the box with zero customization, you can set more aggressive implementation timelines because it is essentially “load and use.” But when you start making changes to the functionality, no matter how small, that is when you are at risk of slipping on your implementation date.
(2) Set realistic implementation timelines.
Oftentimes during the sales cycle, potential customers will say they need to meet a specific deadline. Too often, by the time the contracts are signed that date is no longer realistic. If this is the case, invest the time upfront to sit down with your vendor as soon as the contract is signed (or before if you can) and go over all your requirements and expectations. This will provide a realistic implementation date and QMS performance expectations that will make you look like a superstar to the business. Some words of warning: If a vendor agrees to an implementation timeline that is significantly less than other vendors are quoting–beware. Chances are high you are not going to get what you need or expect. In the long run, you will spend more time and money to get your system to where it needs to be.
(3) Prioritize the implementation cycle.
It’s possible—QMS systems have a lot of features and functionality that can streamline processes and ensure compliance across the enterprise. Just like building a house, start with a strong foundation and then prioritize the value and the order of completion for everything else that will go into it. Start by making a list of your most pressing business needs. Next, let your QMS vendor educate you about which of their solutions would best solve those needs, the dependencies of each, the time estimates for implementation, and which could be “quick wins.” Prioritizing and structuring the implementation enables you to create a realistic implementation cycle. It will bring the largest return on investment to your business first and save money in the long run because you are building on top of the right foundation.
The reality is that you are implementing an enterprise-level QMS software system that is critical to your business’ reputation and bottom line. Therefore, choosing the right vendor should not be taken lightly. AssurX is the one vendor who can boast one of the quickest implementation timelines. This is due to the extremely flexible, configurable nature of the platform. With any vendor’s product—including AssurX—you could spend months, if not years, configuring the be-all-end-all application and in the end, never go live.
The value of the AssurX platform is that it allows you to roll out your business solutions in stages. Processes can be updated as need, and you can add all the bells and whistles that you want. The benefit is a return on your investment when you roll out the most important process elements first. Unlike a building contractor who will have difficulty making your living room larger after you’ve moved in, new or changed functionality can be easily accommodated with AssurX.