The previous post gave an inkling of the importance of technology and infrastructure and factors we need to consider to build various customer systems. Through an appropriate transfer of technology, the overall cost of training and maintenance costs in the near and far future can be reduced.
So, what exactly is transfer of technology?
The new systems will be installed at the customer site and demonstrated to persons of the IT department and user departments. We would suggest that a few persons belonging to the IT department try out all features of the installed system, to get an overview of the functionality, features, security privileges etc. End users, drawn from various departments would look into the functionality aspects. The persons selected from the IT department for this activity should be aware of the customer standards to be adopted in each of the new systems and specific requirements of the customer users. One or two persons drawn from the IT department could participate in the requirements study phase. This will help the customer, since such staff will become familiar with the detailed requirements of various user departments. This involvement will be the basis for their participation in Requirements finalization. Vendors will also benefit, since the IT personnel can provide clarifications from the IT point of view. Only carrying out integrated tests can best test the complexity and criticality of the new systems.
We would recommend that sufficient number of end users and at least one person from the IT department participate in this joint exercise. The total functionality would be tested using a scenario-based approach, and all test results noted. Vendors will extend all necessary support to the customer in drawing the final test plans. The persons from IT department would be playing a major role along with the Vendors team during installation of database, deployment of application software across various servers, compiling, creating executable, and in general setting up the required environment to carry out User Acceptance Tests (UAT) of the new systems. During conduction of UAT one person from the IT department could be a focal point for coordination of UAT test teams, scheduling, consolidating observations & errors.
Around two to three persons from the IT department could be involved with Vendor’s team during on-site support activities. The problems and errors reported by end users can be jointly analyzed, necessary software modifications carried out, unit & integrated tests conducted on test environment, and then transferred to the production system.
We firmly believe that by adopting the above approach the persons from the IT department of the customer would be conversant with the design, architecture, important programs / functions of the new systems that will be deployed in the future. This would give them the required knowledge to independently maintain the new systems being deployed.
Contributed by : K. Shyaam Sunder, Chief Knowledge Officer, Ramco Systems