Delivering Successful Upgrades

Blog updated on 30th March 2021 by Amy Jones

In recent months we have been busier than ever supporting customers moving to cloud and upgrading to the latest versions of LAKE solutions. In my role as Account Manager, I've spent a lot of time answering queries about the upgrade process. The following questions are typical:

  • How much of our team's precious time will be required?
  • Will we be without a working finance system for days during the project?
  • Will we be faced with unexpected costs along the way?

In this article, I reveal some of the key elements of the methodology we deploy - a methodology based on more than 29 years experience and more than 1,000 successful projects. And the benefit to you? A project that completes on time and on budget.

Before I start, it is important to say that this article is no substitute for speaking to your Account Manager. She/he is there to support and help you make your project as smooth and hassle free as possible.

Key elements:

Unsure what a project will look like, or how much it will cost? Really want to have a good idea of what is involved without committing straightaway?

Perfect - we totally get it. We conduct a free of charge scoping session where one of our consultants logs onto your system remotely to have a look at a number of things such as precise versions, patch levels and the complexity of your current setup. This enables us to estimate accurately how much time is required to upgrade your current application(s).

Once the project has been agreed and signed off, we then begin the kick off sessions which include the Project Definition, Technical Design and finally, the Project Initiation. During these sessions, you will be introduced to your project team which we keep consistent for the duration of your project, and you will receive comprehensive documentation outlining the scope of the project, specifications of any infrastructure required, and a Project Initiation document.

Provisioning of your cloud-based system or technical install if you are running on-premise - this bit sounds quite complex but we usually require minimal to no assistance from your project team. Even if you've chosen to deploy on-premise all we need is access to the environment and a technical contact to be available for any questions throughout - the rest is down to us, and the great thing is that all the work is going on away from your live system, so you can carry on working on your current system with no interruptions - it will be like we aren't even there!

Once we have the scope agreed and the new system provisioned, we are ready to get cracking on the configuration element of the project, essentially making sure the setup from your old system is mirrored in the new one and everything is ready to be migrated over. This stage requires some input from you, but with a big helping hand from LAKE. For example, there may be Q&A reports to convert and re-write, but don't worry, as we schedule time to train and assist you in doing this, and we will be there to help when you need it.

We train you! The great thing about upgrading your systems is you get to benefit from lots of enhancements, so your consultant will take you through the changes and the new look and feel. This will give you the confidence to train your colleagues and be ready to test the system end to end.

This is the stage where we require the most input from you and the team. We know from doing this for over 20 years that the more testing a client does, the more successful the live cutover will be. Whether that's spending a number of days over the period of a few weeks testing, or dipping in and out when you get a spare half an hour, everything helps. Your consultant will have some time with you too, to look at any issues picked up from testing and together we will get you in a place where you're ready to give the green light to go live. Don't worry, it sounds daunting, however we will give you sample test plans, help along the way and support you whenever you need it.

Once you've tested your process end to end, and trained the wider team on any changes, you're ready for the exciting bit!

Go Live
Once approved by both parties, it's time to officially move to your new system! There will be at least a day of downtime, sometimes more, so we plan this with you at the start of the project to make sure we avoid month end and other important times where you most definitely need the system. This period of downtime can be used to do some offline work, reporting, or maybe even (dare I say it) let the team enjoy some time off!

Once you're up and running on the new system, you'll be in the Live Running stage. During Live Running you will have scheduled time with your consultant to look at any issues or niggles that may have cropped up since going live, all of which you will document in an issues log which we provide.

Congratulations! You've made it through a successful upgrade and you're officially back to business as usual.

Support - every step of the way

The whole process can take anything from a few weeks to several months, depending on what you're upgrading, which version you're moving from, the availability of both project teams, and how long you wish to test for.

Throughout the whole process, your assigned LAKE Project Manager is alongside you, so you're fully supported from the outset, and as always, you have your Account Manager who is always ready and willing to help.

We are old hands at this process, but we completely understand that this may be something very new to you and your organisation. I know I'm biased but you're in very capable and safe hands with LAKE. We are committed to the planning and successful delivery of all projects - large or small - and we take great pride in our work.

For more information, please get in touch with your Account Manager who will be delighted to help.

Amy Jones

by Amy Jones

Blog contributor.

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