System migration – what are the key success factors?

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >System migration – what are the key success factors?</span>

Are you facing a system migration? Does the road seem long and complicated? Are you having concerns that the project will be more time consuming and expensive than planned? You are far from alone in having these apprehensions. The fear of changing system often cause companies to postpone the decision until the situation with an outdated and unhandy system becomes unsustainable. Fears and resistance before a major change is something entirely human, we know what we have – but not what we will get. In addition, the process surrounding a system migration in itself is often considered as something complicated and highly time-consuming. – It´s just like the news headlines, you hear about and notice the failed projects first, and not the vast quantity of truly successful ones. Frida Örtgård is Consultant Manager at Flex Applications and has worked a lot with improving the implementation process for our customers. Over the years she has gained a lot of valuable insights as to what factors are critical when companies change their systems. I meet her and Karin Svedberg, who is one of Flex Applications´ application consultants. What are the main things to bear in mind when changing to anew HR system, Frida? – For me and my colleagues who are working with this on a daily basis it´s extremely important that the system implementation is carried out as painlessly as possible. That is the very essence of our efforts, fulfilling the customer´s expectations of the new system and us. What is the formula for a successful HR system migration?

  1. Thorough mapping – finding your “why”. What is the purpose of changing your system? What inhouse working processes could be improved by implementing this new way of working? Frida continues: – In many cases the system implementation also entails a review of routines and workflows in connection with the implementation. Oftentimes, a system migration may come with major transformations for the customer. Such activities may include implementing a collective agreement with new regulations, that staff members are supposed to start checking in and out on a time terminal instead of using paper notes, that new rules for travel expense specifications are introduced or new requirements of reporting what you do each work day, not just your working times, etc. Such aspects have to be fleshed out during the mapping to allow the appropriate time to be set aside for training and guidance within the frame of the implementation project.
  2. Clarity – who, what, how, when? Clarity and transparency throughout the process is another key competent. This involves several different aspects and is somewhat related to the mapping. When you are facing a system migration you will first have to make it clear for yourself what requirements and wishes you have for your new system and make sure you communicate them to your supplier. – Clearly, we, in our role as the supplier, must know what needs and expectations the customer has to allow us to try to fulfil them in the best way possible. In this respect, it´s essential that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, Frida Örtgård says. Karin Svedberg fills in: – Me and my consultant colleagues have to be specific with what we do and how we plan our work. This allows for an improved sense of participation from the customer´s side – they know exactly which phase of the project we are in and what is left to be done. Some of the customers have barely seen the system before, which means that it could be difficult for them to understand exactly what we are about to do. In these cases I have to start with a demonstration of the system to create an understanding as to how Flex HRM is built up. Another part of the clarity is the division of responsibilities. What tasks are to be carried out by the supplier and what should be taken care of by the customer? Avoid misunderstandings and uncertainties by having a clear division of roles and responsibilities.
  3. Continuous debriefings – are everyone on board? Where are we right now? Are we keeping to our timetable? Has everyone completed their tasks? What questions marks are there? Continuous debriefings are one of the keys to a successful implementation project. By having frequent meeting points and follow-ups, any questions and issues can be identified and addressed immediately to allow the implementation to steadily move forward. Karin says: – Yes, our debriefings with the customer are crucial. In my role as application consultant, I have daily debriefings with the project manager, but also with the customer. As a consultant you must be attentive to changes and frequently check in with your team members. Typically, a project involves many different persons. Sometimes the economy department, HR and payroll staff should participate in different stages of the process, which means that these debriefings are vital to make sure that everyone understands who is supposed do what and what decisions have been made. Debriefings are also required to be able to identify any changes with respect to the customer’s needs that may occur in the course of the project. Frida Örtgård: – We work according to a lean-based activity process in our projects. We know what main activities must be carried out to achieve the goals set up. However, we must also be apt to make changes when necessary and therefore we take on an agile approach to adapt the project according to any new preconditions as they arise.
  4. Create a sense of security By showing the customer that we, in the role as the supplier, have control of the project, a sense of security is created from the start; we then keep doing the entire project journey together and don´t let go of our customers until they feel ready to do so. Frida Örtgård: – It is important for us that the customer feels confident throughout the journey. It is difficult for the customer to see what steps remain; it´s our job to offer our guidance and support in this. However, we must also make clear that their efforts, with respect regard to testing the system etc. is a part of the security. To secure a good end result you must set aside sufficient time and carry out the activities agreed upon. Responsiveness is another precondition for a secure cooperation. Frida adds: – It´s also important to remember that the needs in terms of system and processes may vary between different companies, which means that the supplier must be responsive and adapt the support when the customer goes live with the system, according to the prior knowledge and specific needs of that individual customer. Our customers must feel confident when it´s time to stand on their own feet.
  5. Joy and cooperation This may sound obvious, but establishing a really good cooperation within the project group is another key to success. If the supplier is engaged and passionate in what they are doing, you are very likely to have a positive climate and a good starting point for working together with the customer. – Going that extra mile in every implementation is something I always strive for, we should be able to feel open and honest through the project and feel pleasure to achieve things together. If the tensions are relieved and we can make the customer to feel confident, these are favourable conditions for a good cooperation and joy. I can see a great difference in my projects if the team from the customer´s company is prestigeless too. It creates a much greater commitment for the end-result, Karin says.

You are very welcome to contact us if you wish to know more about the process of changing your HR system and which of our solutions that would suit your business. We are there to offer our guidance! 😊

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