• The implementation stage delivers the new system to the participants• It often involves a major change in the way that the organisation operates.• To ensure that the new system is implemented successfully, it must be carefully planned.• This implementation plan details participant training, the conversion method and the system testing.
• Training ensures participants can use the new system.• The type of training is dependent upon the existing knowledge of the participants and the scope of the change.• Management may decide to train some leaders who then instruct others.• They may also employ training specialists or create training manuals.• Technical support staff are often employed or out-sourced for use on an ‘as-needed’ basis.
• There are four main methods of conversion.• They are: • direct • parallel • phased • pilot• Direct involves the immediate change from the old to the new system.• It is not often used even though the costs are minimal, because it does not allow any ‘real world’ checking of the system.
• Another reason is that the old system is not available as a backup if the new system fails.• Parallel involves the old and new systems working simultaneously.• If there are any problems, they can be resolved before the old system is discontinued.• It does, however, result in additional workload since everything needs to be done twice.• It can also lead to confusion if there are discrepancies between the data.
• Phased implementation involves the gradual change to the new system.• Certain operations are brought on line first, while areas of the old system remain.• Each operation is individually tested, if there is a problem it is possible to switch back• Phased conversion is often confusing as the users are not sure whether they are using the old or new system.
• Pilot conversion is where the full system is trialed in a few branches of the organisation.• Once all the problems are sorted out with the system it is implemented to every branch.• [Complete Figure 1.20 on p.28]
• Testing a system is a very important part of the implementation process.• Tests must be designed to examine the system under all possible conditions.• Hardware should be tested using diagnostic software and through general use.• Backup systems should also be tested by deleting and restoring data.
• Software is tested using data that has been structured to test all decisions to be made by the system.• The test data should be based upon the original specifications.• There are a variety of tests using various kinds of data including: • Volume data • Simulated data • Live data• Volume data is used to test that the system can cope with a large amount of data all at once.
• Simulated data aims to replicate many expected situations.• Live data is using the actual data and this takes place once the system is installed.• The various operational processes are continually tested during implementation and refined over time.• Evaluation is ongoing; if the system is not performing then changes need to be made.• If a major upgrade is required then the system development cycle starts again.
• Evaluation should also review the effect on the users.• Ergonomic issues, as well as usability, should be addressed.• The operational manual should also be trialed and tested.• It should be modified as feedback is given from users.• Maintenance is any minor changes that are made to the system.• Any of these changes should be documented and passed on to users.