Implementing Astra Schedule VII
Change is always stressful, but we at Ad Astra are constantly working to make the transition to Astra Schedule VII painless and even harness some of the excitement that comes with using a new technology. Once a customer has decided to upgrade to web-based architecture, they make a commitment to emerging systems that are changing the workplace. They are also committing to a process that helps them usher in the next stage in academic and event scheduling. While every implementation is customized to the needs of the organization, there are standard steps that need to be followed to ensure that the experience will be as painless as possible, and an Astra Schedule Implementation Consultant will work with the customer team to support the entire process. The basic steps include:
- Discovery – this is where the project team and responsibilities are identified, project goals and expectations are defined, and project milestones and timelines are set.
- Data Strategy – this is a stage where the technical environment is installed and the data that will be used in VII will be gathered, converted (if from a previous version of Astra Schedule), validated and imported.
- Design Strategy – in this stage, the implementation consultant works with the customer team to configure security requirements, enter supporting data, and validate application function.
- Parallel Testing – during this timeframe, users will test the technical operation and configuration of the locally installed instance of Astra Schedule.
- Transition – this is the changeover from whatever previous system was being used to Astra Schedule VII; end user training occurs at this time as well as the formal technical and operational cutover.
- Client Roadmap – this occurs after the transition and includes discussion of the near and longer-term rollout of the application in the organization and the best practices to follow to gain even more value from the investment in Astra Schedule.
A local instance of Astra Schedule is installed as early in the implementation as possible so that server setup and connectivity can be established effectively. The native web-based architecture of Astra Schedule means that the application is installed on a web application server linked to a database server. No local installation is required on individual users’ machines – they only need a browser.* This means that users can access the application from anywhere the instance’s URL is exposed, and maintenance can be centralized.
While every implementation necessarily reflects the needs and availability windows of the customer organization, the base implementation is structured to take approximately twelve weeks. The key to a timely implementation is the completeness and accuracy of the initial data set (particularly the room records), and the availability of the project team. Spreadsheet templates are provided for collecting, refining and importing room, resource, customer/contact, and event data. Time is allotted for customer experts to provide configuration guidance and testing. Training and transition support is provided to make the cutover as seamless as possible. The implementation process is designed to be efficient and effective in deploying the powerful scheduling capabilities inherent in Astra Schedule.
*The accounting module does require a local installation for accounting administrators.