What do lush bath bombs, black socks, Johnny Castle, and Randy Savage have in common and why am I discussing them in my software implementation blog?

The story begins in 2006. I worked at an electric cooperative in Georgia, where we were implementing iVUE® and Rusty was the ABS Project Manager. Over the course of the implementation, I developed a personal relationship with the Project Managers and other NISC personnel. I learned about their families, discovered what they do for fun and learned about their interests outside of business.

Fast forward to 2014, PRECO and NISC were under contract to implement iVUE and we were discussing timelines and Project Managers. Our first request was to obtain Rusty as our ABS Project Manager. We had a relationship with Rusty and knew he is an expert with iVUE and understands the financial side of the business.

Rusty and Mathew arrived on Monday for ABS training and within minutes I learned how the two met. Mathew and I bonded instantly when he told me he watched the US Men’s World Cup game from a bar. After a brief kickoff meeting the training was underway. Rusty and Mathew performed training with small groups of employees in their offices. Personnel learned how to enter time, run payroll, purchase and receive material, create work orders, manage fleet, maintain the general ledger, run reports and other accounting functions. The training the employees participated in over the past month paid off, they knew how to navigate in iVUE and understood the basic concepts of the accounting modules and Rusty and Mathew were able to devote the entire week to process training.

PRECO’s service territory is broad – extending within 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to residences near the Gulf of Mexico. Bradenton is home to the Marauders, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Randy, Rusty Mathew and I went to McKechnie Field on Monday night and watched the Marauders take on the Ft Myers Miracle. It was a beautiful Florida night and I learned the significance of Johnny Castle and Randy Savage. It wasn’t a good night for the home team—the Mauraders lost 5-11.
Lunch was a good diversion to our busy schedule and Roni and I took Rusty and Mathew to the best Mexican “restaurant” in Wauchula. While homemade tortillas, guacamole and salsa were devoured, we learned about black socks and lush bath bombs.

Training was completed on Thursday afternoon and Rusty ended the day with a wrap-up session. Rusty left instruction for personnel to begin testing the software and to start validating data. The sooner users identify issues the sooner NISC personnel can resolve them. We are nine weeks away from Go Live and we want to ensure our data is accurate for the final data cut. Weekly conference calls between PRECO personnel and Rusty will commence this month.

Accounting was the primary focus during the past week and we continue to move forward with other portions of the project. Integration between iVUE and third party systems has a tendency to get overlooked until later in the project. To ensure integration is functional at Go Live we assigned Shauna Salvino, business analyst, with the role of managing integration between iVUE and our third party systems. Test systems were created for our critical business systems and include the GIS, outage and staking applications. We have the ability to test the integration between iVUE and the third party systems without impacting our production systems. A few applications will require software updates in order to the integration to function.

So what do lush bath bombs, black socks, Johnny Castle, and Randy Savage have in common? Some things are best found out through old fashioned communication methods. When you see Rusty or Mathew maybe they will let you in on the answer.