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Early Access to Environments a Key Factor?

Niranja Sivapragasam, Strategic Product Group, Senior Business Analyst, FINEOS

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2013 FINEOS Claims Global Summit which took place in the cosmopolitan city of Toronto, of which I saw all of two streets, but I have heard that it’s quite a lovely city. At the Summit, I had the opportunity to listen to many key presentations and gain lots of important insight into not only the way claimants benefit from a seamless IT solution but also the way our clients implement the system. Andy Beardsall of Manitoba Teachers’ Society presented to the summit on how it took them nine months to build a solution using mostly content and product with little customisation and focusing on automation and efficiency.

This presentation delivered lots of powerful information and has inspired me to write my first blog as one of the takeaway points I got from this is, and to quote Andy here, ‘Access to Environments at an early stage is an important consideration’.

Now why is this such an important contributor in a project?

  1. Allowing business users and technical users to have a place to play with the environment and learn the system from the inside out – people learn in different ways and many people learn better from doing rather than from listening or reading.  Are you the type that doesn’t like to follow instructions but simply likes to build and see how it goes? Sometimes the best way to learn something is by getting your hands dirty. So what better way to get your users and support staff on board and familiar with the product than by providing an environment where they can do this freely?
  2. Allowing your end users to see the system early on – one of the advantages of an easily changeable User Interface is allowing your analysts to work directly with your business users and make changes on the fly and see these changes as they happen. It’s also great when doing solution walkthroughs when you can show them for real instead of just doing screenshots.
  3. Getting buy in from all levels is easier when you can see what you are signing up for – being able to show to senior management at an early stage the actual application and parts of the solution that are going to be rolled out and getting the stamp of approval is great so that you know you will have support through the remaining phases of the project.
  4. Start building the system with the content provided – solutions that come pre-built with content allow the project team to familiarise themselves with all aspects of the application and give an idea as to how their own solution may be deployed.

So, in conclusion, having environments set up early on in the project can make a difference to everyone involved and can definitely help rather than hamper the solution. Thank you Andy Beardsall for inspiring me to write this blog – I hope I have done your idea some justice!