iVUE® is launched and the implementation activities have taken off like a rocket. It didn’t seem that long ago that we signed the contract and employees were anticipating the start of the project. Like a child waits for Christmas, the project kickoff seemed like it was never going to get here. Now we want time to slow down, it is almost June and we wonder where April and May went. Didn’t I just get off my vacation in March?
Training resources and Go Live resources were identified during the contracting phase. After the analysis trips we discussed resources requirements for the onsite training trips and Go Live week with Rusty and Ryan and decided additional resources are needed for both ABS and CC&B. Our employees are located at five office locations and coordinating centralized training while still conducting business can be a logistical problem. WebEx and video conferencing are great technologies but sometimes users grasp new concepts when training occurs in a face-to-face environment.
We added a second resource to the ABS process training, Rusty will remain onsite at the headquarters and Mathew Krogen will travel to the branch locations to train employees.
The CC&B side is bigger in scope with nearly all of our employees requiring some level of training. We have personnel who perform a majority of their job function within the CC&B application to field personnel using the mobile product. Our initial approach was the train the trainer method: train a group of employees who would then train the remainder of our employees. After careful consideration and recognizing the scope of the project we determined the train the trainer approach was too risky. We do not have the volume of staff to train personnel, test the software, validate data, and verify bill print while performing their normal work duties.
The schedule is revised and additional resources are allocated for training our employees. We finalized the resources needed during the Go Live week and we will have several NISC staff at our headquarters, dedicating one to the billing department, and an NISC resource at each branch location. Adding the additional resources is a big relief to our personnel and allows the team to focus on other implementation tasks.
As I mentioned in April’s blog, our employees are participating in navigation training and process training will start soon for both ABS and CC&B but that hasn’t stopped progression of the project.
In March we began discussions with John Robertson, NISC AMS Support Analyst, regarding the bill design. He supplied Veronica with sample bill images and we spent the month of March designing a draft of our new bill. The design work continued in April and we sent the final bill draft to John in early May. The AMS group will finalize the bill mock up for our acceptance then begin programming.
The Meter Data Management System (MDMS) implementation kicked off in April. Tom Root, Support Consultant for the MDMS team, provided the project team with an overview of the functionality, timeline to Go Live and some homework NISC will use to configure the system. NISC is reviewing the results and will configure the system based upon the information we provided.
Rex Moorman, NISC Industry Consultant, is managing the Work Management implementation which officially kicked off the first week of May. While this was the official kickoff, the Peace River team started working on this piece of the project six months ago. We knew the work management piece would require us to know our service order procedures in detail but the detail didn’t exist in a documented form. Kendell Coker, Coordinator of Engineering for Peace River, and her team spent the early part of the year documenting our procedures in Visio.
In April, Rex started supplying Kendell with information to give her “food for thought” as we considered the types of service orders needed to accurately reflect the work for PRECO. A goal with the work management system is to bring efficiency and accuracy to our procedures and the work management system gives us the opportunity to change and improve how we perform our work in order to meet our goal.
The Work Management project officially kicked off with a WebEx session the first week of May and Rex gave the team an overview of the system and instruction for configuring a few pieces of the system. Currently we conduct business in a manual fashion with paper service orders and the work management system brings automation, efficiency and technology to the process. We have a lot of decisions to make regarding the setup in order to schedule work, track and manage workload and resources, and provide work to the field personnel on a mobile device. Rex gave the team an overview of the service orders, scheduling tool and mobile solution and this overview will help the team in making the right decisions on setup.
The accounting side of the project is moving at rocket pace as well with one user stating she is in contact with Rusty almost on an hourly basis. Rusty is balancing the converted data and seeking reports and additional information to aid in balancing. Rusty and Mathew will be onsite for a week of process training. Employees using the accounting portion of the software continue to take a series of job related courses to help them prepare for their visit.
The eight hour work days are disappearing and our personnel are starting to work overtime in order to continue our daily operations, participate in training, clean up data, and complete implementation tasks. We have quite a bit of activity going on with the project, summer is quickly approaching, vacations will be squeezed in and we will continue to work diligently as the Go Live dates approach.