Designing, Delivering and Implementing a New System in an Organization
Before designing, delivering, and implementing a new system, the organization needs to keep in view certain factors impacting the successful completion of these important steps (Rosenblatt, 2013). First, the organization decides on the steps to follow during the entire designing and implementing process. It will help in managing and prioritizing different tasks of the process and allocating organizational resources in an effective and efficient way (Beatty & Williams, 2006). In general, the designing and implementation of a new HR system undergoes six major steps, including: documentation, coding, testing, installation, training, and support. These steps are now discussed in the following sections in detail:
Step 1: Documentation
From planning to the final installation of the system, each and every activity will be documented for future review, guideline, and record purposes. First of all, the major objectives of implementing the new HR system will be documented, i.e. why MJB Manufacturing wants to set up a new HR system; what are the short term and long term benefits which it aims to reap from this investment; and what are the future prospects in the eyes of its stakeholders? Secondly, MJB Manufacturing will document all the activities from the design and implementation phases. For example, coding in the system design (languages used for programming), interface development, functional integration, time consumed on each activity, major functions which the system can perform, etc . Documentation will also include the steps which have been gone through during the system installation (parallel implementation) phase. Moreover, user manual (guideline), resolution of technical and functional issues (technical support), frequently asked questions (FAQs), etc. The whole documentation of the new HR system will be available to study and review by all system users, technicians, and other concerned staff.
Step 2: Coding
Coding is the initial step in design phase of system implementation. It includes writing different codes in programming languages that are used in the development of the whole system. Since the new HR system is to be implemented at the corporate level, the coding will be done in symbolic machine codes as well as higher-level languages so as to build a fully-functional enterprise management system. Coding is done by a number of developers – each developer is assigned specific sets of functions which he has to code and then interoperate with the codes and functions of other co-developers. Coding phase also entails the layout, design, and overall boundary of the system and its interface. Therefore, all developers must stay in coordination with each other while doing coding of the system (Rosenblatt, 2013).
Step 3: Testing
After completing the coding phase, the next step is to test the system before its actual implementation. While coding is done to develop the system design using programming languages, testing is performed in order to ensure that all the identified requirements have been effectively fulfilled by the system design. System testing and evaluation is done in a controlled environment by a team of specialized IT and networking experts (Beatty & Williams, 2006). For MJB Manufacturing, system testing will be done in multiple dimensions. For example, functional testing will ensure that the new HR system is capable enough to perform all the functions which the company has planned prior to system design phase. Functional testing will be done using a requirement matrix so as to evaluate the system’s effectiveness for different functions; like employee payroll calculation, time sheet, attendance, and daily schedules, time clock (for employee log-in), recruitment, orientation, and training schedules, online account creation, employee Self-Service (ESS) system, etc. Performance testing will be the second step in system testing phase. In this step, it will be ensured that the launch and shut down time, response time, and total capacity of the new HR system matches the requirements of the company. The ultimate purpose of testing stage will be to ensure that the system has been design, coded, and developed according to the requirements of the company. Other elements which can be tested during this phase include; system database, response time from one link to another, functioning of data entry fields, telecommunications components, functioning of system backup options, and the maximum data load which the system can bear at any point in time (Cruz-Cunha & Varajao, 2011).
Step 4: Installation
Keeping in view the time and cost constraints, MJB Manufacturing will install the new HR system using an un-hosted adaption. This new adaption allows the firm to get technical support, periodical maintenance, and up-gradation of its new system at its own premises. Secondly, MJB Manufacturing will install the system using parallel implementation approach. That is, the new system will not replace the old software at once. Instead, it will be transformed side by side with the the old system. This transformation delivers various benefits to the company. First of all, if the new system fails at any activity during the installation phase, the old system will be there to save and backup the company’s data and reports. Secondly, the company will be able to evaluate the performance of both the systems at the same time. Moreover, parallel implementation will also enable the system implementation team to identify and rectify any errors or technical faults in the system before moving to the next step. In parallel implementation, the HR system will process the same company data which the old system is using. However, it will be totally different with respect to user interface, functionalities, user activities, database capacity, etc. At this stage, the system implementation team will also set up proper power supply for the new HR system. The installation of the whole system will be completed in a period of 3-4 months; depending upon the learning of the concerned employees concurrent with the parallel implementation and the number of technical faults identified and removed after every sub-step of system installation (Beatty & Williams, 2006).
Step 5: Training
Training of employees is the second most difficult step after system implementation. After completing the parallel installation and documenting the administrative, technical, and functional aspects of the system, the next step is to train the employees who will ultimately use the new system. The system implementation team will provide step by step training to these employees during the parallel implementation phase. However, final training will be provided when the new system will become fully operational at the organization. In order to ensure an efficient and reliable functioning of the system, MJB Manufacturing will have to ensure that all the concerned employees actively participate in the training sessions (Ehie & Madsen, 2005). The final training related to system operations, maintenance, and troubleshooting will be provided by the same team that has implemented the system. MJB Manufacturing will also have to make sure that the employees stay updated with any changes or up-gradation in the new system by IT administrators or by the system development and implementation team (Gunasekaran, 2008).
Step 6: Support
Since the new HR system will be implemented using un-hosted option, MJB Manufacturing will take the technical support, maintenance, troubleshooting, and up-gradation services from the system vendor at its own premises. The vendor will not only train the company’s employees during and after the implementation phase, but will also provide complete technical and functional support whenever they will face any issue in the normal routine (Ehie & Madsen, 2005). The expenditures on technical support will be among the heaviest costs of the new HR system for MJB Manufacturing. The system vendor will offer free technical support for the initial 6 months period. After that, it will charge heavy among for this service. In order to avoid any technical mishap in the future, MJB Manufacturing will only take technical support from the same vendor that has developed and implemented the system. Moreover, it will continue to up-grade the new HR system in order to improve its operational efficiency.Benefits of using defined and repeatable processes in System Implementation Stage All these six activities or steps have certain associated benefits which MJB Manufacturing can reap during and after their transition from one activity into another. There are certain processes which the company will need to perform repeatedly and consistently for accomplishing these six activities for the implementation stage. For example, the employees will need to learn each and every function of the new system in order to operate it effectively. The system implementation team will be responsible to provide technical and functional support to all the system users side by side with the parallel implementation. Similarly, the documentation of the whole process will be done simultaneously so that none of the activities or processes is missed. Above all, system testing will be done after the completion of every new step of installation. It will help the system implementation team in identifying and eliminating systematic and non-systematic errors before they create issues the whole system (Gunasekaran, 2008).
Beatty, R.C. & Williams, C.D. (2006). ERP II: Best Practices for Successfully Implementing an ERP Upgrade, Communications of the ACM, 49(3): 105-109.
Cruz-Cunha, M.M. & Varajo, J. (2011). Enterprise Information systems Design, Implementation and Management: Organizational Applications (1st ed.). Hershey, PA: Business Science reference.
Ehie, I.C. & Madsen, M. (2005). Identifying critical Issues in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Implementation. Computers in Industry, 56(6): 545-557.
Gunasekaran, A. (2008). Techniques and Tools for the Design and Implementation of Enterprise Information (1st ed.). Advances in Enterprise Information Systems (AEIS) series, (Vol. 2.). Hershey: IGI Pub.
Rosenblatt, H.J. (2013). Systems Analysis and Design, (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Course Technology Cengage Learning.
© 2015 Mark Bush