As the gold standard for enterprise software platforms, CMiC is the backbone of many accounting and project management operations within the construction industry. It’s no surprise then that news of upgrades, new releases, and overhauls can cause stress and consternation. But the recent CMiC R12 upgrade provides enterprise clients with an excellent opportunity to further integrate this vital software platform into their operations.
While a release such as R12 may not be the organization-defining event of the initial implementation , a CMiC version upgrade of this magnitude will necessitate bringing stakeholders, subject matter experts, and end users back together for evaluation and testing.
The essential areas users should focus on during an R12 upgrade are:
1. Address Stale Business Processes
Reviewing and standardizing business processes can greatly enhance the success of major software implementations. But, when systems like CMiC are introduced, constraints of time and budget can force some processes to be left out, perhaps with the intention of integrating them later during calmer times that never seem to surface.
A major upgrade is a good opportunity to sweep up and integrate the processes, teams, and divisions that might have been left out of the initial launch.
2. Upgrade the User Experience…But Beware
CMiC’s R12 upgrade specifically addresses the User Interface and cleans up some of the obvious navigation differences between v10X’s Field and Enterprise menus.
For some users, that’s a win. For others, it’s going to be a challenge. Specifically, the CMiC Forms function is no longer available in R12. For Enterprise-based modules, such as Accounting, Equipment, and Payroll, employees will have to adapt to the point-and-click ADF interface and abandon the keyboard navigated Forms. Some users accustomed to flying through functions via the keyboard are going to be less productive, at least initially. The implementation of the ADF interface will be time-consuming and potentially politically difficult work, so make sure that you’re addressing this effort as you plan your roll-out.
3. Revise Your Testing Tools
Likely, you are utilizing Test Scripts for your current CMiC patching process. The combination of new or added functionality necessitates a review, and likely revision, of your existing Test Scripts. You’ll also need to account for potential bugs in the R12 release. You may need to deploy more detailed scripts to apply a degree of discipline that may have eroded over the years and you might consider recruiting new testers.
4. Enhance Your Output/Analytics
CMiC is sunsetting Oracle Reports, Discoverer queries, and Form Letters in R12, meaning that companies that have avoided moving to Jasper and MIPs (Microsoft Integration Package), will have to update their reports or risk losing them during the upgrade. In general output always takes more time, energy, and budget than anyone cares to acknowledge- so make sure that your roll-out plan includes the review of existing reports, as well as the design and testing of new output.
Bonus: CMiC’s updated BI tool is worth checking as the tool grows more robust with every release.
5. Celebrate the New, But Make Sure It All Works
While it’s always important to entice users with new features, R12’s latest functionality should never be the sole focus of your upgrade efforts. The priority is to ensure that you will be able to execute your current business processes in the new software version.
Users will be excited about the upgrades, however, seamless transition is what will ultimately drive widespread adoption of new features, along with tolerance for the inevitable bugs that exist in all major software upgrades.
6. See Change as An Opportunity
Don’t just endure the CMiC R12 release; the improved platform will create long-term benefits and is worth the organizational and personal effort. Stick first to the fundamentals of honing business practices and confirming that your company can execute the current functionality – then embrace the benefits of the many enhancements CMiC has included in this new upgrade.
How Tilson Can Help
If all of this seems daunting, Tilson can help. Our construction IT experts know the unique challenges of the commercial construction industry and have the experience and expertise to set your CMiC platform up for success.
Matt oversees Tilson’s CMiC practice and has been helping construction companies with their business and software needs for fifteen years. Learning about and embedding himself in the culture and practices of construction clients is what drives his excitement for this work.