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Eric Cooper

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Keeping Your Enterprise QMS Implementation Project on Schedule

Three considerations for establishing a QMS implementation timeline

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 12:02

Due dates. Whether it’s building a house or implementing an enterprise quality management software (QMS) solution, everyone has them, everyone wants them. 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.

There are three considerations for establishing a QMS implementation timeline

1. Level of configuration vs. customization
If 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
Often 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 up front 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 what 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 to prioritize the implementation. 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.

Conclusion

The reality is that you are implementing an enterprise level QMS software system that is critical to your business’s reputation and bottom line. Therefore, choosing the right vendor should not be taken lightly. AssurX is one vendor that 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 AssurX platform allows you to roll out your business solutions in stages. Processes can be updated as needed, 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.

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About The Author

Eric Cooper’s picture

Eric Cooper

Eric Cooper is the director of professional services at AssurX.