The first part in this series of three covered the drivers and models around a Collections and Recoveries (CnR) Application support function. The second part outlined a number of important points to take into consideration when designing the support function. This last part draws attention again to the need to make best use of the opportunities a project provides and also to be mindful of how things pan out in the medium to long term.
Make use of the Project Opportunity
At the outset of the CnR system implementation/upgrade project, you should consider what support model is likely to be put in place, its composition and its roles and responsibilities (as outlined in the first two parts of this series). The relevant resources should then be heavily involved throughout the whole project life-cycle in order to get the maximum exposure and learning opportunity. They may be supplemented by third party (such as Arum) resources but they must be engaged as they will be the ones left holding the reins once the project is complete.
This is almost never an aspect which is always given due prominence by the software provider (who are primarily interested in completing the project), but it cannot be stressed enough that the opportunity presented by the project to implement the new CnR Application should be fully exploited; doing is the best way of learning.
Changes over time
Post go live, recognise that there are various phases which have differing demands which need to be catered for. These will vary (and are influenced by whether there are subsequent major projects which impinge upon the CnR Application), but in essence they are:
- Immediate aftermath (warranty period) – a small number of weeks. In this period one of the main aspects to have in place is an accountable, robust yet quick path to resolve fixes or issues. Any non-urgent fixes or enhancements should be logged for attention later on.
- Settling down to ‘steady as she goes’ – the next couple of years (depending on complexity and other projects which come along in the meantime). During this period, a regular forum between the CnR Application support team and the various business stakeholders should be established. The Terms of Reference should at the very least revolve around:
– Communicating fixes/issues and path to resolution
– Reviewing enhancement log and establishing priorities (influenced by resource availability)
– Covering any other matters CnR Application related
Increasing business understanding of the CnR Application, how it works and what it can do (thus maximising the investment made) in addition; a regular code release schedule/slot should be established. Note that the frequency of this is likely to start to reduce as time progress (see next section). Be mindful that when a new system is introduced, despite the project activity, it sometimes takes a business a few months of actual usage to really get a feel for how the system works and to then identify various beneficial changes (and this is where the CnR Application support team can take a lead as already noted). Of course a business continues to change in terms of strategy and operational treatments and as well as internal and external compliance.
System Maturity – two plus years post go live
This is the period when, assuming there have been no major changes to the CnR Application, the number of fixes and enhancements required may begin to gradually decline (influenced in the main by the regulatory environment and the business’ own process improvement strategies). The client needs to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of personnel with the relevant expertise to provide adequate support (e.g. holiday/sickness situations) but needs to consider resource utilisation.
Projects can be fraught affairs as deadlines loom and myriad challenges arise to be overcome, but it is important an eye is kept on the many eventual endpoints. In the case of a configurable CnR Application, where the client desires a high degree of self–sufficiency, then it is important need to fully round out the support requirements and utilise the project opportunity to address them. Doing so will enable the delivery of the benefits agreed to in the business case and also allow the business to agilely adopt to a changing business environment.
Michael Haskell, Lead Consultant