Monday, July 14, 2008

Implementing New Applications

I've previously written about selecting new applications and the infrastructure reviews we do whenever new applications are added to BIDMC.

Once an application is selected, my role as a CIO is to set expectations about what happens between product selection and go live. On occasion, some stakeholders think of applications like installing a spreadsheet on their home computer - you just buy the application, type "setup", and then begin using it.

I've even heard of examples where a CIO tried this. At one institution I visited, they purchased Peoplesoft, copied it to a server and then "turned it on". To their surprise, it was not used.

We try to standardize the steps between product selection and go live, ensuring that IS manages that process with strong governance oversight by the stakeholders. Here's our framework:

Kick off meeting for all stakeholders
Identify the business process owner and the individual who makes decisions for the users
Identify the Project management in IS (note that every project needs a named project
manager in IS)
Agreement on scope - may include phased implementation such as pilots
Agreement on timing
Agreement on staffing and budgets

Schedule Steering and Working group meetings

Identify needed Infrastructure - network impact, servers, storage/archiving

Acquire the application including negotiation and legal approval of terms/conditions

Configure the application and establish any needed interfaces

Perform integrated testing of the application

Train support staff and stakeholders on the use of the application

Go live

Support and life cycle manage the application

This framework ensures a successful go live, provides 24x7 support, and ensures the application is maintained over time. Although the process typically takes 6-12 months from start to finish (except for the simplest software as a service applications hosted externally), it's a worthwhile investment if you plan to use the application for decade.

I hope this is helpful to you.
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