The implementation process for software applications
should be smooth with a minimum of disruption. If some basic
guidelines are followed, the applications can be implemented
with little difficulty. All too often users rush to install
the application without proper planning and execution. This
frequently leads to problems and delays. Why is it we don't
have the time to do it right, but we always have the time
to do it over? The guidelines described here are very general.
They would apply almost equally to similar software supplied
by any vendor. Below are some considerations that should be
It is a good idea to review your equipment
needs with the software supplier. This does not mean that
the supplier is to become your sole equipment consultant.
Typically, applications are coming from multiple sources.
Software suppliers can only address what hardware resources
will be needed for their applications. The equipment should
be delivered, set up and used for general purpose applications,
like word processing, for several weeks before major applications
are installed. This gives one time to shake down the hardware
before major applications are implemented. If the system involves
a network, be sure to allow ample time for the wiring to be
accomplished. Use top grade wiring and the fastest hubs that
you can afford to get the best performance from the system.
Most of the time, connectivity is the main bottleneck in system
performance. Connectivity relates to wiring, hubs, routers
and network interface cards.
If the application requires special forms
like checks, statements, bills, etc., one should allow six
to eight weeks for delivery. If the forms are custom designed,
the process could take substantially longer. Don't wait until
six weeks before the application is installed to start the
order process. The printer may have a backlog. These times
are merely guidelines and cannot be guaranteed. It is also
a good idea to immediately test the forms when they are received
to be sure they will align and work properly. If you are using
mailer sets, be sure to fan the forms before use. Even minute
amounts of excess glue on the forms will cause them to stick
together and not feed properly through the printer.
Regular system backups are vital to the successful
implementation of new applications. Users new to the software
often make mistakes that may require them to revert to an
older copy of the data files. If backups are not being made,
you may find yourself having to start over. How often should
you backup? A guideline is to backup when it will take
longer to reenter the information than it will to backup.
An often used procedure is to do a system backup during the lunch
hour and at the close of the day. If you encounter critical
points in the application where a backup would be appropriate,
you might want to consider doing a backup of just that application.
Backups are normally done using a high capacity tape unit or
a removable disk. However, you can also perform a backup to
another folder on your hard disk drive.
Formal training is vital to the successful
use of complex application software. Rarely, can one expect
to read a manual and implement the application in a smooth
orderly manner. If you don't understand the computer and operating
system, plan on getting training on those components. Application
training is designed to teach users how to use the application
software, not how to use the computer's operating system,
etc. Be sure to allow time for training to be scheduled. It
is not unusual for training classes to have a backlog of several
months. Backlogs are especially long late in the year when
new payroll and accounting systems are being implemented.
Be sure to prepare for the class. We have specific items that
need to be prepared before attending class. The list differs
by application. If you are unprepared, vital class time will
be wasted setting up such items.
Don't try to install all applications concurrently
unless they are totally unrelated and will not require supervision
of a single individual. There are simply too many moments
of temporary frustration in the process which will lead to mistakes
compounding themselves. If the applications are interrelated,
there is a definite sequence that should be followed. We suggest
the following order: general accounting, payroll, utility
billing. The accounting should come first because the other
systems interface with the accounting and require its availability.
We don't recommend file conversions for accounting
and payroll. In most instances, those applications can be
set up faster by just keying in the necessary information
to get started. If you are concerned about historical information,
we suggest that you print those reports on your old system
and retain them for future reference. In most cases that should
suffice. Another alternative would be to hire temporary employees
to enter the information. We will discuss CUBIC file conversions
in that topic.
BUCS Fund Accounting
Before attending class, the chart-of-accounts should be designed and created, using a word processor. A document giving some design guidelines is sent to attendees prior to the class. BUCS is very powerful and flexible working with account numbers. However, good design and planning will make the system much easier to use. If you don't prepare the chart, valuable class time will be spent designing and entering the information. Samples of existing reports should also be brought to class to use as models when creating BUCS reports.
When you install BUCS, enter beginning balances. Prepare trial balances for each fund. Once all funds are in-balance, you should be able to begin using the system. Because of the structure of BUCS, an extensive parallel testing period is usually not necessary.
A CHIPS pre-class list itemizes the materials you will need to bring with you. Classroom instruction will cover the installation procedures. This application requires parallel processing because of the variety and complexity of setup. Even if you set up all taxes and deductions perfectly, items can often be overlooked when individuals are set up. Sometimes, procedural nuances may cause a problem that is only discovered in a parallel test. These are not necessarily set up errors or bugs. They tend to be just the way the software behaves under certain conditions.
CUBIC Utility Billing
A CUBIC pre-class list itemizes the materials you will need to bring with you. Classroom instruction will cover the installation procedures. This application requires parallel processing because of the variety and complexity of setup. Even if you set up all rate codes and general ledger codes perfectly, items can often be overlooked when accounts are set up. Sometimes, procedural nuances may cause a problem that is only discovered in a parallel test. These are not necessarily set up errors or bugs. They tend to be just the way the software behaves under certain conditions.
File conversions for CUBIC may be beneficial for clients who have large volumes of accounts, like more than 5,000. Smaller volumes of accounts may be converted. However the cost and time involved in preparing, testing and running the software may outweigh the benefits. In order to convert the information, file structures from the old system are required in order to write the conversion software. If you don't have access to that information, you are probably out-of-luck for a conversion. Frey & Company provides software to edit and build converted data files supplied in the our specified format. However, the conversion edits are not 100% complete. Keyboarding the information is the most reliable method of creating files because of the extent of edits imposed by the software. Conversions usually require several attempts before they are successful. Even when the files are edited and converted, they often contain bad information because of errors in the old software. We are not trying to discourage file conversions. We just want customers to be realistic in their expectations.
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