Here at 3Si our actions are guided by reliability and truthfulness, ensuring that our customers are at the heart of everything that we do. We are very proud of the consistently high levels of satisfaction expressed by our customers in relation to the services we provide, we do not employ 3rd parties or contractors to complete any part of our projects. All work completed by 3Si is done so by 3Si employed members of staff based at our Head Office in North Staffordshire.
Data migration is a consultative process. A member of our staff will be responsible for all aspects of data migration but they will require assistance during this phase from your staff. Initially the data will be assessed and agreements reached regarding the best approach and most appropriate data for migration.
Once the data migration is underway, it will be necessary for you to verify the accuracy and relevance of the data to be converted. For example, if a field on the existing system should hold a postcode, it will be converted as a postcode field despite the fact that a user may have inadvertently entered a telephone number.
Following data migration there may be the need for data "clean-up". You will be responsible for the clean-up of the converted data; however, 3Si will provide advice and guidance on the optimum methods. In addition, OM.Net provides a number of utilities to assist with data clean-up.
3Si has converted data from many database types in the past. Many suppliers’ refer to this part of the project as a ‘project within a project’ and therefore usually only give estimate figures based on using a ‘template’ import routine. This can mean that initially the cost for converting looks low/reasonable but once the data migration is performed and it may not meet requirements/expectations. A customer can then find that further data migration is then charged above this estimate.
At 3Si we work differently. We have two clearly outlined options and we give a fixed price for both or the one of choice.
Standard migration - this is via a loading feature that can take the standard expected data such as names and addresses and load them into the system (de-duping where possible) plus the ability to apply a number of other key items (active flag, total outstanding balances for example). The remaining transactional data from the previous system can then be loaded into read-only tables which can then be interrogated by the user through the software.
Premium Migration – this is a customised migration taking the current database and converting all records, including financial transactional data into the software. As you can imagine this sort of migration is more time consuming, especially where financial information is involved, as it invariably identifies where the data is incorrect etc and therefore requires more input, analysis and interaction between both 3Si and to rectify/tweak the results until both parties are happy. This has proven popular as it still provides the business with the ability to see historical transactional data.
When pricing a project we cost the data migration to cover our costs, rather than the time that we believe it will take. As we strongly believe (and stick to) fixed price projects we will need to see examples of the data to be able to provide a cost for the Premium Migration option. We are happy to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to allow us to see copies of the current data and therefore be able to provide a more accurate price.
In order for your staff to fully exploit the OM.Net system, 3Si recommends that targeted training is undertaken by key users, who may in turn train their colleagues (i.e. "Train the Trainers"). Training is normally done at a client site using a test bed OM.Net populated with converted data. 3Si can also provide training at our offices in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire if the client would prefer.
To achieve the best training results, the skill mix of each course should be approximately even. To ensure that all delegates receive adequate attention we would prefer that groups be limited to no more than 5 people per training day.
We will appoint a Project Leader and anticipate that our clients will appoint a key member of staff or external consultant to act as their project manager. It is the project manager’s responsibility to agree schedules and responsibilities and keep a 'watching brief' to ensure that milestones are being met. Any issues relating to the project will be discussed and agreed between the two project managers.
We would recommend that a structured, documented approach to the project is taken. To this end PRINCE2 is ideal as it is a generic, tailorable, simple to follow project management methodology. At 3Si we adopt the appropriate elements of the PRINCE2 methods to manage our projects.
The key to the successful implementation of any package is to employ the system as close to its standard "build" as possible. 3Si allow provision for a 3Si consultant to work with the key users of the client and identify how the standard package can be best used to address their requirements.
The consultant will initially set up the database defaults and settings and give further advice and guidance as to how to configure the system in the future. The set-up also includes implementing required day-to-day mailing selections and outputs.
During implementation, the consultant will evaluate any changes that may be needed, assess what can be done under the allowance for changes, and discuss any major issues with the client
Our Web Tool commissioning service is to allow for web developer time to perform limited alterations/tweaking of the standard web pages and functionality and to do web page authoring (e.g. images, buttons, etc.) based on a limited design remit.
The commissioning work will also involve linking the Web Tools to SagePay, WorldPay, etc. work which 3Si has already had prior experience.
In addition to the Web Tools commissioning it may be necessary to integrate the OM.Net Web Tools login process with the existing web site login features so that there is a “single sign-in” which facilitates the authentication to OM.Net and the Web Site. 3Si has gained significant experience with integrating the OM.Net sign-in with various CMS’s and home-grown web sites.
At 3Si we used to adopt a traditional approach to specifying and developing new features and enhancements as part of the initial implementation. However with the benefit of experience a traditional approach can be flawed because the client does not have sufficient familiarity with the OM.Net application suite to fully appreciate the consequences of a formal software specification.
Therefore we now adopt a RAD software development methodology whereby following consultation with the client the enhancements and features are documented purely in broad stroke outline to confirm the overall objective and key features, then through a series of iterative development and software prototyping the final solution is achieved.
However we are conscious that the benefit of the traditional approach was the ability to provide a fixed development cost based on the agreed specification therefore our aim is once the outline document is agreed this provides a base line boundary of the work to be undertaken with the customer acknowledgement that the work is not open ended we can then provide an accurate budget figure.
3Si prefer to have an open and honest approach to modifications and bespoke development. Firstly we are clear and up-front as to where the standard product doesn’t fully address the stated requirements. Secondly we endeavour to produce specifications in plain English with diagrammatical representations of screens so that it is comprehensible to gain feedback from all levels of user. All specifications have a final section showing the breakdown of the development giving visibility of the work involved and providing, if needed, the opportunity to exclude or postpone ‘nice to have’ features to ensure work is delivered to time to budget.
Our Specification process is as follows:
- Initial specification meeting – the purpose of this meeting is to discuss the bespoke work in sufficient detail to ascertain the modification to/new screens, functionality, reports, etc.
- Following the initial specification meeting we provide the 1st draft specification which is distributed to those involved in the initial specification meeting.
- The 1st draft document is typically followed up with a ‘Specification walkthrough’ which is 3Si’s opportunity to explain the specification face-to-face (or via webinars) and glean comments, alterations and feedback.
- We anticipate that some changes to the initial specification document will be required following the specification walkthrough. Therefore a revised ‘2nd draft’ of the specification is provided.
- If required subsequent drafts of the specification are produced based on feedback from the parties involved in the specification review.
- Finally once a specification is agreed we will seek a specification sign off which is in essence an indication from the cleint that the overall remit has been addressed. However, we appreciate that once software is actually delivered and the client can actually get a ‘hands-on’ experience that there may be some minor changes to the agreed specification and we accommodate for this in the stated costs for the development work.