How can a world-class case management system be built without breaking the bank?
When a large private or government agency implements an enterprise case management system, often they engage with a company that brings in full time project managers, developers, testers/trainers and others who are dedicated to the entire project for the entire time of implementation. The agency generally provides office space and the project team becomes de-facto employees of the organization for months (or even years) until the system goes live. In some implementations, the process is similar but the “de-facto” employees are at the vendor site, but at the beckon call of the customer.
This is a very traditional approach, but in most organizations a more flexible model is needed because people in the project need to do their “real jobs” and dedicated staff is prohibitively expensive. The best analogy for the best way to a project like this is the “house construction” approach.
Custom Software is Like a Custom House
Think of a custom house being built for you. You pick a floor plan, decide on the options, select the paint colors, finishes and counter tops. As the house is being built, you may decide to make changes based on wants and needs, and these changes can add some cost to the overall budget.
Your Software Vendor is Like Your General Contractor
Think of the software company as the general contractor. In the traditional software implementation sense, the contractor brings in a team of dedicated people to build your house. But as we know, this isn’t the best approach. We don’t expect framers to be the best people to install granite countertops. We don’t expect drywallers to do expert flatwork in pouring your driveway. In actual house construction, teams move around from house to house. Yes, there are people who are in the project who can do multiple things, but isn’t it better to have specialists do each part of your implementation?
Proper Project Management and Scheduling is Key
This does have some drawbacks. For example, what if your expert set of framers are working on another house just when your house needs it? Should your drywall people do framing in this case? Absolutely not. The best general contractors have the ability and resources to bring in the most skilled people without the customer having to wait an unacceptable amount of time. A world-class software company has an incredible task/project management system and resource scheduler to allow juggling of the very best resources for each critical stage of an implementation.
By selecting a software vendor with expert resources, along with a robust resource allocation system, will ensure a high quality, on-budget and on-time world-class case management system.