Once you have gone through the ETO Blueprinting process, the idea of implementation can be an exciting one! Your organisation is about to commence using software that can help improve data collection, management, and reporting organization-wide, as well as streamlining internal processes.
But before jumping too quickly into implementing ETO, it is important to keep in mind 5 elements that can ensure a successful ETO software implementation – reporting, collecting relevant data, training, implementation processes required to sustain ETO, and post-go-live testing.
Underinvestment or improper investment in these critical areas can lead to significant long-term challenges. It is therefore important to invest in the “right” resources to ensure a successful implementation, as outlined below.
1. ETO reporting
It is easy to get caught up in the setup of the software and forget about reporting. It is also hard to determine your reporting needs early on in the implementation planning phase because you may not know what you want to report on. Reports also need consistent front-end data entry to work properly, so reporting may get left off the to-do list in the early days of implementation.
However, you will need certain reports to manage your programs and services, so it is important to include reporting in the implementation process by drafting an ETO report blueprint. An ETO report blueprint outlines the metrics you want to capture in the report, the criteria and conditions of the report, raw data required to produce the report, and potentially the frequency for running the report.
Even if you can’t define the specific reports you need at the beginning of implementation, it is recommended that you set aside additional implementation resources upfront — including time and money — so you can draw on these resources when you have a clearer picture of your required reports.
It is better to build a buffer in your budget for ETO Reporting during implementation rather than get to the end of implementation, realise you need specific reports, and then have no budget left to create them.
2. Collecting relevant data
You can collect and manage many data sets in ETO, but that doesn’t mean you should track everything in ETO. Data is only valuable if you use it to take action. Creating services, efforts, assessments, touchpoints, and fields in ETO that have no functional, practical, or strategic purpose contribute nothing to the process of improving your organization’s performance.
Relevant data that is required for reports is data that has purpose. So, instead of assuming that data is important because it is captured on a current paper-based form, other data management system, or was proposed internally, if the data is applicable to the reports that you need to run, then the data is important.
Determining what data you want to collect in ETO before implementation will lead to a cleaner, healthier, more streamlined, and easier to use ETO system.
3. ETO software training
Training is an easy area to cut in an implementation budget, but this can negatively impact end-user proficiency, buy-in, and use of the system. Training is therefore critical if you want your staff to become proficient ETO users, administrators, and report builders, and if you intend to build internal capacity and sustain ETO long-term.
You might want to consider ways to reduce training costs like train the trainer models, recorded training sessions, end-user and administrator documentation, or outsourcing administration of your ETO database altogether. These are all viable ways to invest smarter in ETO implementation.
4. Processes required to sustain ETO
Apart from training, your ETO system and its users need to interact together with internal “processes” in order to ensure proficiency. Processes are the link between people and technology, or the “how” of your ETO data management system.
Processes include things like:
- How will we manage data quality?
- How should we monitor user engagement?
- How often should we report on specific data sets?
- How often should we evaluate potential improvements to our system?
- How will we keep the system healthy and sustainable?
- How will we make changes to the system over time?
Processes are an important aspect of your ETO system and should be addressed prior to implementation, especially before go-live, so you can “get the most” from ETO. A data management system like ETO cannot thrive in your organization without defined processes.
5. Post-go-live ETO software testing
Implementation is never perfect and usually not complete at “go-live”. Even if your discovery, blueprint, review, and testing phases setup your ETO database exactly the way you need it, post-go-live use of the software will always uncover issues. In particular, once users get into ETO and start using it in their daily work in real time, they will begin to point out elements of the system that need to be modified or don’t work, despite your best efforts to recreate all practical applications of the software before going live.
As with reporting, it is therefore important to factor in additional resources for post-go-live changes. Many organizations will continue to get feedback from end-users about the practical application of the system for up to three months after go-live.
Implementation is the first step on your journey with ETO, so it is important that you get it right.
This post offers 5 critical elements that your organisation should consider to ensure a successful ETO implementation. Each of these elements builds on one high-level question that should drive the entire implementation process – How will ETO improve your organisation’s performance?
That is, ETO should help your organisation be “smarter,” which can help your organisation improve operations, workflows, service delivery, and overall program outcomes. Improvement therefore allows you to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of your work, which can be achieved with careful implementation planning.