Our last two blog posts covered the first two phases of the implementation process for a compensation management tool – analysis and development. Specifically, these posts went over the expectations placed on both parties, and the role communication plays in making the process as painless as possible. The third phase of the implementation process also deals with communication – specifically, building communication capabilities into the system. This is the point in the process where the system starts to get fully fleshed out, built upon the foundation started in the first two phases.
Once the client signs off on the system after the initial development process, the developers begin adding more features into the system. Many of these features revolve around communication; specifically, how the system will communicate with users throughout the client’s organization. Together, the client and developer determine how certain aspects of the system will work. These aspects include email notifications, how the relevant workflows are going to be structured, how approval processes will be handled, and so on.
Once each of these pieces are in place, the system moves into user testing. The developers load sample data into the system so that it looks and behaves as it will once it’s completely finalized. The users then go into the system and test it to make sure everything is working to their satisfaction. Generally the users will make sure their calculations are in order, and their budgets and systems are properly incorporated and functional. If everything here is deemed satisfactory by the client, the developers then prepare employee training.
The training, like the compensation management system itself, is customized in cooperation with the client so that it covers the necessary systems that were built in – like pay programs, promotions, and budgets. Ideally the compensation solution shouldn’t require much training, because it should be straightforward and simple to use. Furthermore, most of the system’s users (managers) will likely only use the system once or twice a year. They’ll want to know how to get right into the program, see their direct reports and budgets, and administer compensation. Keeping this in mind, the training usually involves quick-start guides as opposed to formal training – which is costly and time-consuming.
Once the employee training has been developed, the implementation process has reached the home stretch. It should go without saying that communication between vendor and developer remains just as vital in this stage as it has previously. Ensuring that the developer knows exactly what your organization needs will save a lot of time and trouble. It gives them a concrete direction, and lessens the chance that the system will somehow deviate from your needs or expectations somewhere along the way, necessitating massive revisions. In the fourth (and final) part of this series on implementation, we’ll cover what goes on during the system’s finalization and eventual deployment.