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Part III - Key Aspects for Building a Strong Foundation for Successful OMS Implementation

When the all important decision has been made to move forward with planning the implementation of a new offender management system (OMS), we can see the foundation of a successful implementation taking shape as early as when a well crafted Request for Proposal (RFP) is issued from the Corrections agency. Preparing an RFP with a clear and focused scope, as well as a realistic budget to match the requirements, lays the cornerstone of a successful partnership in the implementation of the new OMS software and beyond.  Modernizing the infrastructure and application platform is critical - but finding a true partner that will work to implement the vision as the Corrections organization grows and changes is just as important.  

Once your RFP has been completed and you have chosen an appropriate software provided by a partner with the right experience in implementing at your size and scope, the final piece is preparing for the stages of implementation of your new system. Implementing any type of enterprise system is difficult and requires total commitment.  A study by the Standish Group estimates that only 16.2% of IT projects are considered successful--which they define as being completed on time and on budget, with all promised functionality.

The article goes on to say “A majority of projects, or 52.7%, were over cost, over time, and/or lacking promised functionality. That leaves 31.1% to be classified as failed, which means they were abandoned or cancelled.”

Furthermore, the article illuminates the top five factors Standish found to be contributors to a successful project:

Those five factors are:

  1. User involvement
  2. Executive management support
  3. Clear Statement of Requirements
  4. Proper planning
  5. Realistic expectations

We see within this list that there are two main areas these factors fall under: preparing for the technical shift & and preparing personnel. 

Preparing for the Technical Shift

From the technical perspective, it is of course imperative to begin to identify the vital functionalities in the Corrections agency’s business processes as well as the myriad of legacy siloed systems that will be replaced by the new OMS.  Working closely with your new vendor, data cleansing and data transformations will ensure your new OMS has data on day 1 that is usable and actionable - and that no data has been lost or migrated that could damage the reputation of the new system.  Ensure your OMS provider has a strong background in data migration and can share clear examples of successful implementations.  

It is vital to keep in mind during any implementation that every agency’s laws, regulations, and business requirements for a software vary greatly. This is where proper planning and clear requirements from the RFP come into play. It is imperative that your agency is familiar with your unique requirements in order to work directly with your partner to modify or develop specific customizations within their software to meet your exact needs. Of course, of equal importance is that the partner has come to the table prepared to make those changes to ensure your system meets the exact needs of your end users.  This process is called “Fit/Gap”- an experienced OMS provider has the capability to not only understand your specific requirements - but make the necessary changes to ensure all features work exactly to your agency specifications. 

Preparing Your Personnel

But we also know that with any major change such as this, it is imperative that there is buy-in for the new system agency-wide by the time it goes live. With the right change management strategy in place, from the moment you select your new OMS partner, you can begin preparing your staff and stakeholders. 

In our next article, we will address in depth the key stages of change management. We will look at how best to approach them in order to help you prepare holistically for this major shift in your organization’s day-to-day operations. 

We know that anticipating implementation is one of the hardest parts of choosing a new OMS. When looking for the right partner in your RFP, consider a company that has a proven track record of successful implementations and has demonstrated experience in delivering on time and on budget. Consider contacting previous implementation references, or requesting status updates on current projects to ensure implementation of the size and scope is something the partner can deliver.







Other Articles

Part VII: What is a Change Request?

What are the best ways to engage in change requests with your OMS technology partner from both a technological and institutional perspective?

Part VI: Best Practices for Maintaining and Advancing Your OMS (part 2 of 2)

What happens if a software bug goes unaddressed? Check out Part VI of our series and learn why it's necessary to address software bugs and defects.

Part V: Best Practices for Maintaining and Advancing Your OMS (part 1 of 2)

So what exactly is a software "bug"? Check out Part V of our series and better understand the need for OMS software updates.