by David A. Kelly
Over the course of 10 months, Hill-Rom collaborated with CSS International and McBee Associates (financial and management consultants in the healthcare industry) to shape solutions and business processes that would enable Hill-Rom to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of its third-party rental business.
Along the way, the companies identified a number of keys to success, including the following:
Creating the right project staging. Staging the project appropriately was an important key to the success of the project. By implementing specific changes early on in the project, the team was able to demonstrate progress, simplify business processes, and give something helpful back to the users so they could see tangible results.
"For example, in the cash posting area in accounts receivable, we were able to reduce the dozens of steps it took to do an adjustment down to about three and implement the fix early on in the project," says David Ostrowski, overall project manager and director of customer payer services for Hill-Rom. "It was an easy fix, and the training was easy. We were able to start reaping the benefits halfway through the project rather than wait until we reached the end."
In addition, once the change was made, Hill-Rom was able to refocus critical brain power on serious problem solving rather than wasting time on mundane tasks.
Managing change. Another key to Hill-Rom's success with this project was the team's focus on change management and the impact the project was having on Hill-Rom users. This was especially important given the problems that the users had encountered after the last wave of the previous ERP implementation.
"The hardest thing about this project was probably the change management," says CSS's Miller. "We had five go-lives in less than four months. The first was really critical because the whole group of people—from senior management to line workers—had had challenges with the last two major projects."
To overcome that, Hill-Rom and CSS International had a very specific change management effort for the project, including a full-time, seasoned industrial psychologist on the consulting staff, whose sole purpose was to assess, understand, and design change enablement and communication programs for the organization. The project leadership had to ensure that the user community was well informed, understood the organizational changes, and felt confident in their skills before the various portions of the system would be launched.
"The change management problem wasn't an easy task for us; in fact, I think it was one of the most challenging issues we encountered on the project because we were talking about 350 to 400 people that were impacted by all of this," says Ostrowski.
Using the right tools. Another key to Hill-Rom's success was its use of the Oracle User Productivity Kit (Oracle UPK) solution. Hill-Rom used UPK as a way of tracking and training its end users to get them up to speed quickly so they had a tool to go live on and were capable of supporting the broader user community.
"[Oracle] UPK almost sounded too good to be true, until we decided to purchase it and install it," says Ostrowski. "We have developed our training on the program, and everyone just loves it."