alms.NET Live - Mencap story

24 September 2015

alms.NET Live

Migration of 1m Contacts, 3 Million Transactions, 10 teams, 60 users and a new technical infrastructure – in just 9 Months!

Mencap - the leading voice of learning disability went live on alms.NET with little fuss or stress in May 2015 having signed the contract in Mid-August 2014.

This should have been celebrated more than it was as some of the figures involved in this adoption of a new CRM system were impressive!

· 900k People records,
· 80k Organisational records,
· 3 million Transactions
· 200 Custom Data Tables (perhaps the most impressive statistic)

All re-engineered into the alms.NET database.

This complexity of implementation has been known to take several years, so how was this completed so quickly and seamlessly?

To ensure that we had understood the requirements from the start we used business process flows. These aren't drawn up from scratch but are what we call best practice flows that the community of alms users, sector leaders and legislative changes have helped to continually define and refine over many years.

Using these to identify any apparent variations allows us to share the deep understanding of processes (and therefore the usage of the system) with every team and team member.

If we knew and understood the requirements we could share responsibility for set-up and implementation. However, some processes were unclear to us:

Where processes were complicated or not clear we ran workshops to tease out and clarify the exact requirements – to everyone’s relief even the most complex and unique could be accommodated, without modification, within the alms.net BP model.

The most surprising challenge was in Data Conversion. Not the volume but the complexity - with over 200 tables designed by Mencap that were not actually part of the standard Visual Alms system. How could these be accommodated? Who knew what the data meant?

Not a problem – the alms.NET Data Conversion approach identified, interpreted, reshaped and transformed each piece of information so that it became part of the standard process with all the reporting and analysis that is on offer.

However, once this was complete the alms.NET built-in dashboards showed that something was wrong - the numbers didn’t add up, the data was not supported by the accepted facts.

Painstaking field by field analysis showed that the data had different meanings in different circumstances! The rules governing these variations had to be built into the data conversion process – the usual 3 cuts of data conversion became 4 without compromising the timetable.

“The data came to life!”

Having cracked the data conversion, training the 10 teams to embrace the new approach was a cinch:
· Each training session started with the previously agreed process flow of how things were done.
· Discussion was encouraged to achieve clarity, understanding and agreement.
· Then the core of the training session showed how alms.NET supports each process.

Since alms.NET has been refined over many years it has some breath-taking features that make many users smile! The built-in Dashboards give startling insights without the need for a technical resource. “I have been trying to get that figure for months!”

Once the data conversion had been agreed and the users trained it was simply a matter of migrating the data into alms.NET and for MENCAP to go live.

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