5 Phase Implementation Process Overview
The Project Team participants will have received CRM application software training in the Design and CRP phase. Following the core project team training and a complete testing of the application during the CRP phase, the person in charge of training (typically from the software vendor) will deliver additional CRM software end user training in the form of either classroom training or a train-the-trainer program.
User training courses differ from the earlier project team training in that they emphasize the day-to-day user activities and do not include the set up, configuration or process alternatives available throughout the CRM system. This allows the users to focus on only the tasks that they need to be concerned with and leaves the configuration and business process alternatives to the project team. Experience clearly reveals that user retention is the most challenging obstacle faced by users. It can therefore be advisable to schedule user training immediately before the go-live Cut-Over. It is also important that management provide the uninterrupted availability of those individuals scheduled to receive training so that training can be both efficient and productive. User training is often performed using a Train-the-Trainer program. All users who will be responsible for using the application in everyday activities are trained in the processes necessary for their routine tasks.
When it comes to training, we highly recommend the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principal. Stay focused on the primary and core responsibilities and don’t try to make your staff technology experts - it won’t work. Empower your staff with the screens, information and knowledge to become better at their roles, not technology guru’s. Some other training suggestions are listed below.
- Invest your implementation time in the optimal areas – with a significant focus in training programs. CRM systems, more so than other type of business applications, should have less focus on software and more focus on people, processes and training. A comprehensive training program and post-production staff support are directly correlated to the adoption and use of the new business system and the achievement of the company's objectives.
- Be certain you have finished all software configuration, pilot Q.A.,and testing before you introduce user training. It's a mistake to unknowingly make the users the testers or Beta site which results in the unintended result of losing their confidence in the new system just before the go-live event.
- Develop a rock solid training curriculum, classroom approach, hand-out materials and agenda; integrate cross reference materials where they can add value.
- Develop a solid, user based, real-world training curriculum; it's a mistake to use the software vendor's generic training materials; instead use a tailored curriculum that the users can more closely comprehend.
- Depending upon your user base computer literacy levels, you may want to consider skill-set assessments which measure PC skills and can then append the training curriculum as required.
- Provide multiple methods of user help-based resources such as a support desk, printed materials, role aides, reference sources, Queue Cards, a knowledge base and online documentation. You may want to consider provisioning a separate training company application instance where users can go to experiment without the risk of corrupting the system.
- If you're using internal help desk resources, make sure they are thoroughly trained, tested and ready for incoming user requests.
Events that take place just before the Cut-Over (‘go live’) event include validating final modifications, reconciling a full system conversion pass, reviewing expected outcomes and making final adjustments as required. The conference room pilot and user training will include multiple testing scripts to validate the readiness of the system, the knowledge of the users and integrity of the data. It is important that you also perform an Application Readiness Review with each user community prior to the Cut-Over and have a fall back contingency plan in the event the cut-over fails and you must revert back to the prior system.
The alternative to a point in time cut-over is parallel processing. If used, parallel processing should be performed for at least two period cycles in order to be effective. Although parallel brings less risk and is regarded as a stronger safeguard for new system introduction, most companies do not have the resources to perform all transaction processing twice in two separate systems and then perform reconciliation's.