What makes a good implementation? What are the most important factors? We decided to ask someone who knows everything there is to know about the implementation process. In our series “Interviews with Plunet staff” Plunet’s Head of Implementation Peggy Grafe answered all of our questions on this exciting topic.
Happy reading and hello “Peggy!”
First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you?
I am Peggy Grafe and I’ve been at Plunet since 2009. I started as a Business Development Manager and then moved on to the implementation department. I’m now Head of Implementation at Plunet.
What are your tasks at Plunet?
I am in charge of the implementation department and am responsible for the Plunet implementation for our new clients across the world. This includes system configuration during admin training and then system training in our user training sessions. I also advise our clients on how to optimize their business processes and hold regular release webinars on the newest versions of Plunet.
What does the admin training involve?
There are a wide variety of settings in Plunet. We usually begin by adjusting the basic settings in the system. Plunet comes equipped with an installation database. This is then adjusted to each client’s needs. For example, entering the client’s own price lists and service types or individualizing the document and e-mail templates.
What happens during the user training sessions?
During user training, the client learns how to use the system and how to automate processes in the best possible way. For example, the client learns how to create customers and resources, templates and workflows, which search filters can be used, how to prepare and send a quote, how to manage jobs, assign freelancers and how to create invoices. Basically, we explain the system from A to Z.
Who takes part in the training sessions?
Admin training takes place together with the future system administrators, who will maintain and manage the Plunet installation for the company. User training is for the people who will directly work with Plunet BusinessManager later on. This is primarily the project managers, team leaders and management, but vendor managers, translators and accounting sometimes also take part in the training sessions – it depends on the structure of the team.
How long does it usually take to learn how to work with Plunet?
The entire training phase with system setup, learning about the system and testing it usually takes around three months – with a good buffer. But actually it’s difficult to say – every client is different, and it always depends on the general company set-up.
What do you mean by that exactly?
It really depends on the structure of the company and the scope of the project. If it is a standard implementation, it takes around three months. For more complex projects with many individual customizations, the implementation phase may take a lot longer.
Why is a professional implementation so important?
A professional implementation is more than just an explanation of the functions and configuration of the system. An equally important part of our service is process consultation. Together with the client, we analyze their existing work processes and work out how we can improve processes by structuring them more efficiently. Plunet is a very good tool for achieving these goals.
Another aspect is setting the date for the GoLive. With a professional implementation, you have fixed training dates and a final date that you are working towards. This means you can make sure that you go live punctually and that the users will know the functions when the system goes live, deploy them in the best possible way for their processes and generally use the system to its full potential.
What does the client support after implementation involve?
Of course, the implementation team also offers client support after the system has gone live. Especially in the first few weeks there are often minor queries, which our clients can ask us about directly. We also have a ticket system for user questions that is available 24 hours a day.
What are the benefits of the ticket system?
Compared with e-mails, the ticket system has the advantage that all queries are recorded, processed and solved in one place. Individual e-mails may be overlooked, for example, if the relevant person only has limited access to their e-mails or is off work sick. In the ticket system on the other hand, we can maintain an overview of all queries and can directly assign them to the right contact person. This is also a great benefit to our clients – they receive a quick and direct answer to their questions.
Two Plunet versions are published each year with many new developments. How are these new features introduced to the users?
The most important new features and explained in our release webinars. We also provide extensive Release Notes in German and English, with descriptions of every new feature. If this isn’t enough, users can always book detailed training sessions on our Releases.
When are training sessions generally a good idea?
Plunet’s functional scope is constantly increasing. Smaller language service providers (LSPs) sometimes do not have the resources to keep up to date with the newest features in Plunet. Therefore, it makes sense for this LSPs to request training sessions from time to time.
We also have LSPs who have been using our system for many years. At some point, they begin to analyze their work processes and are not sure whether they are tapping the full potential of Plunet BusinessManager. Many of my clients ask me about this and then we arrange a professional consultation. We analyze and evaluate the current business processes together, give specific recommendations and support the client in the implementation of these ideas.