Buying a new Translation Management System is a revolution. No matter if you are familiar with similar systems or not, it is always a huge change for every translation agency. After all, this new piece of software is going to become your central and probably most important tool to run your business. This is exactly why we at XTRF pay so much attention to its successful implementation.
So what actually happens after you purchase XTRF Platform?
You obviously become one of our clients, and it becomes our next goal to train you how to use the system and help you deploy it to production.
How does it work?
In general, XTRF implementation is about system installation, configuration, and user training. However, because of the reasons, I mentioned at the beginning, and because each of our clients has slightly different expectations from their new system, every implementation process is different.
At XTRF, we have two models of implementation: XTRF Academy (a series of video lessons for self-training) and “regular” Implementation service.
The latter is a more personalized approach, and each of our clients choosing this model gets support from a dedicated team of experts from our side. Usually, this team consists of two people: Implementation Specialist (technical expert and trainer) and Implementation Project Manager.
The Implementation Phase
During the implementation phase, our goal is to learn as many details about our clients’ operations as possible, in order to configure and customize the system for their individual needs.
Our focus is to get to know what services our clients offer, what processes are behind them, how they cooperate with their vendors, what their invoicing procedures are, etc.
Based on that, we are able to configure various elements of the system. In particular, we set up process templates in the system and support our clients in defining certain system values like job types, specializations or even custom calculation units.
At the same time, we are aware that our clients invested in our system for a reason, and they have their expectations from this ‘revolution’. Those may be different: from automation of processes that used to be done manually to advanced integrations. But they all contribute to the final shape of the whole configuration and help us deliver personalized solutions.
Dedicated User Trainings
In parallel to the above-mentioned tasks, we provide dedicated user trainings. Those can be provided online or on-site, depending on the clients’ needs. The trainings are usually performed on a pre-configured system. This way, the users can see the processes they know so well in their new environment. It helps the users to get familiar with the system quicker. Although we support our clients with an initial configuration to kick-start the production as soon as possible, we try to train them from all aspects of the system, so they can become self-reliant later on.
Building a Database
A slightly different kind of configuration is the process of building a database of clients and vendors. There are usually tens (if not hundreds) of business contacts that need to be entered into the system, together with their rates and other details. If this was to be done manually, it would take ages, so we handle that by importing the records to the system.
Quite often, there are multiple pieces of custom information to be imported on this occasion too, e.g. internal notes, requirements for invoicing, client- or vendor-specific preferences, etc. Those may have a direct impact on other areas of the system configuration or future project management. This is why the imports are also handled by the same specialist responsible for the configuration and training.
Last but not least, many of our clients decide to customize the system in other areas than standard configuration. The most popular request are customizations of our document templates, to make them look very much like the ones our clients used to use, but we also receive requests for custom connectors, macros or even external applications supporting the processes managed in XTRF. These tasks are handled by our Customisation Team – a team of engineers who get involved in the implementation process if such need arises.
After the system is configured and the users trained, it is time for them to test all the settings before “going live” with the new system. The best way to do that is by reproducing real-life scenarios in XTRF, but still without involving your real clients and vendors. As a result, usually, some final amendments are done to the configuration.
And then, finally, when both sides feel that the time has come, our clients start using the system for real projects. In the first weeks after the go-live, the implementation team still supports the users. The implementation process officially ends usually approximately 1 month after the go-live.
So how long does the whole implementation process last?
It depends. There is no simple, “always correct” plan or schedule. Some companies require little configuration and decide to go live as soon as only possible. Other spend weeks on going into tiniest configuration details to make sure they get the most of the available features. Yet another treat the implementation process as a perfect opportunity to revise their internal procedures and design them anew.
This is why every one of our clients works with a dedicated XTRF Project Manager and have a custom implementation plan agreed at the beginning and continuously adjusted down the line. The goal is to do things right, not quick. It pays off later on for both sides.