We are live on iVUE®! When we started our implementation college football was ending and Ohio State defeated the top ranked teams to win the national championship. The year has flown by and as our implementation draws to a close football season has started, Manchester United is in the top three of the EPL and Ohio State continues to maintain their #1 ranking.

The week preceding Go Live was busier than we anticipated.  We finalized configuration, tested a few changes with Bill Calc. and made final preparations for the cutover weekend. Legacy data was cut for the final time on Tuesday night. The two minute warning clock was ticking while we waited for Tracy to convert the data to iVUE®.

We expected to have data on Friday and Tracy put one in the back of the net when he loaded data on Thursday. By Thursday afternoon the data was balanced and we began execution of the cutover plan on Friday. The member portal, credit card payments and AMI integration were turned on and tested Friday instead of Go Live day. A huge relief to have those functions tested and ready prior to live day. Tracy was able to convert most of our data but due to the nature of the service orders we had to enter all open service orders from our legacy system before we went live. Our dedicated team of employees spent the weekend entering 1,500+ service orders along with other miscellaneous member transactions into iVUE®.

The final whistle blew, the game was over, October 5th arrived and we were live! Ryan arrived with a team of NISC staff. We celebrated that morning! October 5th was not only Go Live day but it was also Ryan’s birthday and we celebrated Ryan turning another year older with some cake. All of our offices had NISC staff onsite to assist with any issues or training needs during the week. The phones started ringing at 8:00 a.m. and our Member Service reps were ready to answer our members’ questions. Cashiers were taking payments, work was scheduled electronically and field personnel were working service orders from their laptops.

Jamie and Rex assisted personnel with scheduling work and tweaking workflows. Ryan and Eric worked with Roni and her department to post readings, run penalties, process service orders and run Bill Calc. Michaela and Shelley helped our personnel balance cash drawers, answer questions and provide support to our employees and Nestor was available to assist with any escalated issues. We ran into a few issues along the way but the NISC team resolved them quickly. The first cycle of bills was processed the second day of Go Live week and a week later we were processing delinquents and running Bill Calc. on our normal schedule. We worked late nights during the Go Live week, sometimes well past 8:00 p.m. to ensure billing, delinquents, and orders were processed correctly.

We did not experience any issues with the software that prevented us from billing, taking payments or working service orders. After Go Live week was over we concluded the week was spent fine tuning our procedures. We continue to have weekly status calls with Ryan and the project team. We do have issues which are minor in nature and the issues are usually resolved with a configuration change, a training refresher, or an adjustment to a workflow.

What was the worst part of the project? Working 10-12 hour days and working on weekends isn’t enjoyable but is necessary and worth the effort to have a smooth Go Live but the worst part of the project is what we dubbed as "The Go Live Gain". It is those five to ten pounds that seem to creep onto the body during the project. Bad eating habits, sitting for long periods and lack of exercise all contributed to the “Go Live Gain”.

How did we keep going during the long days at the end of the project? Mark, aka the morale officer (MO), visited our offices several times during the last few weeks of the project and supplied us with chocolate. He would stop by each office offering his support and supplying us with sugar and chocolate to sustain us through the remainder of the day.

What went right? We had a game plan and executed it. We had the right team; NISC as our software partner and our employees. Our employees put in the hours participating in training, testing software and validating data. They were committed to the project and did whatever it took to ensure a successful implementation.