It’s the difference between a suit off the rack and a custom-tailored one, but the irony of cloud-based implementations is that the custom job can often be the most cost-effective.

How do you get to Optimal?

A well-considered cloud-based implementation relies on increased flexibility to deliver higher satisfaction. A capable vendor will review your current process, prototype the agreed upon “new” process, and leverage their experience at other schools to deliver the best, first effort at a truly innovative solution. The vendor should produce a roadmap that follows your business cycles, with plenty of room for adjustment. Most importantly, they should be able to implement quickly.

Not in years, but in months—or preferably—weeks.

As the implementation unfolds, you should feel comfortable that your staff understands the new functionality and sees how the pieces fit. If the process has been collaboratively redesigned to maximize efficiency, and solutions have been tailored to your specific business needs, that resonance should be a given.

And now, the most telling way to ascertain a high-quality implementation partner: the best companies anticipate that, after a year, there will be even more opportunities for expansion as users become acclimated and additional opportunities present themselves.

Given this, it becomes incredibly important to be sure your vendor is going to be around once the dust settles. Be sure to “kick the tires” by investigating their support record and getting a sense of proven, long-term commitment. If they don’t realize that continuous improvement is a cornerstone of your recruitment efforts, kick them to the curb instead, and keep looking.

This is so important. The process of “tweaking” a newly implemented system is often where you achieve your greatest competitive advantage. Once staff is familiar with the system, and new roles settle in, numerous opportunities for additional improvement often appear. Be sure your vendor plans for this.

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