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Mark Armstrong's Acuity Experience

BY Mark Armstrong |

16th April 2020 |

Humans of Acuity

My first 30 days at Acuity Solutions 

So I've just wrapped up my 30th (working) day here at Acuity, and what a 30 days it has been! I was greeted with a "Care Package" full of goodies, lots of friendly colleagues and the first Sage Intacct project in the UK has just gone live.

You can read about their experience here.

After the introductions were done, which mainly consisted of me taunting our COO for being an Everton fan, it was time to get started on this Sage Intacct project. So where to start? After all, this is the first implementation in the UK. Luckily, we have a great sales team here who prepared me a huge amount of information about the client to get me started.  Also a very different approach- doing all of our projects on a fixed price basis!

I thought I would take some time to talk through the Acuity approach and how it helps the customer. 


Scoping 

During scoping sessions, it's always important to return to the Key Objectives of the project to remind us of what we are trying to achieve. During scoping sessions it's easy to "fall down a rabbit hole" so these act as a great refocusing tool for us all of what it is we're trying to achieve. 

Our approach is to start with Reporting. After all, information is key to all businesses and reporting drives critical business decisions. The client explained their requirements clearly, and offered information on what they would love to produce from Intacct. 

Now we have our reporting structures, what next? Well, it's time to talk about how what kind of information they want to enter into Intacct. I've always said, you can have the best reporting tool in the world (and intacct is the best I've ever used) but what good is that if you aren't entering the right information in the right way, bad data results in bad and untrustworthy reporting.  

We ran through the different types of information they receive, process and produce, discussed workflows and drank plenty of coffee ! 

So we had our output (reports) and input of data requirements, and it was time for me to put this together and design the Sage Intacct solutions for the client. 

At this point, the customer is given a report of all of our findings, with a fixed price implementation offer to deliver the solution agreed. Once signed off, we move onto the build...

Build 

Okay, solution designed, scope signed off by stakeholders, it's time to build the first UK Sage Intacct system! We use the scoping document as our bible throughout this process, referring back to the key success factors of the customer and delivering the solution in the detail laid out during scope. Any deviations are discussed, documented and planned for either at another phase of in the form of a change request. 

The client was great at providing their data files promptly, meaning we got the build done in a timely fashion.  

Training 

QC done on the build, it's time to train the client.  

Training is vital to the success of a project, poor training leads to a lack of understanding from the client, which has a huge knock-on effect to the rest of the implementation.  

We then dedicate time to build out training plans and materials, setting a clear and logical path for the client to follow, when you learn to drive a car you don't perform a 3 way turn on your first lesson do you? We start with the basics.  

But can you really learn everything you need to know about your system after some training sessions? No. Sorry for the blunt answer, but you probably won't be ready to Go Live just yet. My motto is "Training doesn't set you up for your Go Live... 

Testing 

 ...it sets you up for your Testing." 

This is arguably the most important part of any project, to test or not to test, that is the question (and the answer is you must test and test a lot!)  

Testing is important for a few reasons, but I believe it helps us ensure two things:  

  • Your solution is working as expected from the scope 

  • The users of the system build their confidence in using the system 

It’s also a very generic term, if I ask you to test you something, you’re probably not going to know what it is you need to test.  

Our client was able to prepare their own UAT (User Acceptance testing) scripts to help their users out here, covering common processes and reporting you do on a day-day, month-month basis.  

We also arranged some UAT days to help assist with testing on site, however, due to circumstances out of our control I had to provide these remotely. Despite the change, we had great success on the testing days, and the client was able to go through and fine tune many of their processes with me.  

Go Live 

We’ve always found the key for a successful Go Live is down to the success of the previous phases. With a strong understanding of the clients requirements (Scope) a system designed to meet these requirements (Build) a good knowledge of how the solutions is to be used (Training) and finally confident users of the system (Testing) a successful Go Live is much more achievable.  

Mark Armstrong
Mark Armstrong

Mark joined the Acuity team in early 2020, bring a wealth of knowledge in Sage Intacct, Sage 200 and Sage Financials.