Are you considering an upgrade to Amanda 7? No matter what version of Amanda your government team is currently running, there are ways to prepare for a smooth upgrade process. When you first sit down to create your plan, getting overwhelmed is easy – that's why being familiar with some best practices is the place to start.
Vision33’s eGovernment team has years of experience as a trusted partner for the Amanda Government Platform, and we recently launched a new series of useful webinars for Amanda users. Each session is designed to be informative and relevant, focusing on a feature or best practice that enhances your Amanda experience. You also get the chance to ask questions and interact directly with our Amanda experts, who can share valuable examples and customer stories full of insights you can use.
In this post, you’ll be introduced to three stages of upgrade preparation along with ideas for planning a smart, pro-active approach to upgrading. To dive deeper into learning best practices for your Amanda Government Platform upgrade project, watch the on-demand webinar recording presented by Vision33’s Michael Hall, Project Manager, and Derek Porter, eGovernment General Manager.
Goal Planning: How Are You Measuring Success?
Like you might expect, the first stage of upgrade preparation is setting your goals. That starts with asking some questions. What does this upgrade process need to achieve? What are the benefits to the business, its different functional areas, and individual users? Importantly, how will you evaluate your project’s success?
The goals you decide to set for your upgrade project will depend on the business goals of your organization. When setting your goals, identifying the specific business value of each goal is key to project success. This allows all stakeholders to be engaged in the upgrade process, even if they aren’t directly involved with the project, because everyone understands what’s relevant and beneficial about the upgrade from their own perspective.
For example: if upgrading to Amanda 7 enables an Environmental Health and Safety department to launch a new mobile application that will improve inspectors’ efficiency while shortening wait times for citizens and businesses – then gaining the ability to launch the mobile app is a tangible benefit with clear value to stakeholders, and should be included in any communications about the upgrade project.
As with goal setting in any context, it’s critical to define goals that are measurable and verifiable. Working with goals that are vague, abstract, or unclear is almost as difficult as working with no goals at all. Once you set your upgrade goals, identify the associated business benefits, and define your metrics for success, you’re ready to move forward to the next stage of upgrade preparation.
Current State Assessment: Making Your Map
Before you begin upgrading to Amanda 7, you’ll need to complete a current state assessment to understand how your organization is currently using its version of Amanda and how to map out a successful upgrade implementation plan. There is no single, sole method for assessing current state, so we’ve focused on highlighting commonly required but lesser-known activities for this stage of upgrade preparation.
While this list is not exhaustive, here are three helpful best practices for conducting a current state assessment:
- Build a Service Catalogue: This is needed to understand the services you currently offer within Amanda and to identify them in business-centric terms. Technical resources are not required for this activity, and it can be done in collaboration with multiple project stakeholders. Having these services documented will be highly valuable at many future points in the project.
- Identify Key Service Owners: Knowing the departments and functional business owners for each service offered means your project can get the right people involved. This is crucial for keeping focused on service delivery and business value, rather than a particular IT feature.
- List Known Work-Around Processes: If you have any business processes that have been developed as a “work-around” for using Amanda, you’ll need to collect them into a list. When users have ways of using the system that aren’t obvious – like multiple logins, or repurposed fields – it can create challenges for the upgrade process unless those work-arounds are known ahead of time.
A current state assessment can feel like it requires a lot of work upfront, but it saves a lot more work – and a lot of headaches – later in the project. Click here to watch the full on-demand webinar on this topic, where our Amanda experts cover more current state assessment recommendations and expand on the ones listed here in greater detail.
Implementation Approach: One Size Does Not Fit All
You face a variety of choices and options when developing your implementation approach. Like with a current state assessment, your approach will depend on your organization’s unique needs and goals. According to Vision33 Project Manager Michael Hall, “Various organizations have their own methods that often adopt principles from other methodologies. No ‘one-size-fits-all' approach exists. Your team needs to tailor the process for your needs and agree upon an approach upfront.”
Aside from IT considerations, there are other factors that need to be included in planning your implementation approach. Think about your typical calendar cycles for peak activity. Are there known dates when your system will see high levels of activity – such as month-end or year-end deadlines?
Relatedly, you’ll need to know the capacity and availability of the resources needed for this project. Can users allocate dedicated resources over the short term? Or do they need to allocate resources for shorter periods over the long term? Different approaches will suit these two scenarios differently.
Planning your implementation approach properly is important for user adoption and getting buy-in across different areas of the organization. It’s also a chance to identify inefficiencies or redundancies and ensure an appropriate scope and cost for the project. “I once had a customer with 560 reports and, through this exercise in the project, we got that number down to 80,” Hall recalls. “Bringing those items out of scope created considerable savings for the project.”
Learn More About the Stages of Upgrade Preparation from Vision33 Amanda Experts
If you’re planning for an upgrade to Amanda 7, or you will be soon, it's never too early to start understanding what’s going to be involved in your project and what you can do to get prepared.
At Vision33 we have over 100 technology consultants with firsthand government experience and we’ve been a partner on over 55 government technology platform implementations. Our experienced eGovernment team is dedicated to providing value to the Amanda community through this webinar series. Watch this on-demand recording of the Amanda Upgrade Best Practices webinar so you can stop worrying about how to ensure a smooth upgrade – and start enjoying the power of Amanda 7.