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Our Process and Our People Set Us Apart
AirVault engineers are an integral part of our sales process. They work closely with the sales team to assess the technical requirements of a project and provide input on the amount of time needed to perform system configuration and any custom work required.
Agreement Attachment Review
The data gathered during the pre-sale engineering process is used by the sales team to develop the agreement attachment. This document defines the project objectives and scope of work along with any hardware, software, and services to be purchased. The engineering and sales teams review this document to ensure that it is a thorough and accurate representation of project requirements. This eliminates the chance of cost overruns once the project begins. After successful review of the agreement attachment a contract is drafted and signed.
AirVault Project Kickoff Meeting
Once all contracts have been signed and the project is officially active, a project kickoff meeting is held for all AirVault personnel who have a role in the project. A project team is formed that consists of the project manager, engineers, developers, and trainers. The knowledge transfer begins as the sales team demos the solution for the project team. The demo is followed by a review of the agreement attachment and a Q&A session. Technical risk points are identified and possible approaches are discussed. Finally, scheduling issues are addressed and a preliminary high-level project plan is created.
Customer Project Kickoff Meeting
After the AirVault project kickoff meeting, and prior to implementation of the project, a project kickoff meeting is held at the customer's site. This meeting is designed to bring representatives of AirVault and the customer together to reach a common understanding of the project at hand. Issues addressed include identifying personnel assigned to each role for both AirVault and the customer; establishing methods used to communicate schedule, status, issue reporting, and enhancement requests; covering the technologies that will be employed during the project. The kickoff meeting is one of the most critical meetings that will take place during the project. Agreeing upon expectations and cementing a common vision ensures the projects success.
Preliminary Engineering Study
The project's principal engineer will perform a broad study at customer's site. The purpose of this study is to identify, understand document the details of the customer's business process. The study will cover many of the same things that were covered while the sales team was developing the agreement attachment, however they will be covered in much greater detail. This study will solidify the scope of the project.
Functional Specification Document
The information gathered during the engineering study will be used to develop a specification. This document serves as the blueprint for the project. The spec will also contain information about current and proposed processes and identify items that are outside the scope of the current project. The specification development process is a collaborative effort. The first draft is developed following the engineering study. Once the initial draft of the specification has been completed, it is submitted to the customer for review and comments. The comments are incorporated into the specification and the review process continues. Once the specification is agreed upon, both AirVault and the customer sign the document. Upon signature, AirVault will order system hardware/software. The specification is a critical piece of any implementation. If the engineering study and the specification are handled properly, the implementation should proceed smoothly.
Detailed Specification and Prototype
After the Functional Specification has been signed, a detailed study commences and a prototype is developed. The Detailed Specification Document is a living document that will be augmented and amended as the project evolves and is not complete until the project is finalized to customer's satisfaction. The AirVault engineering team will begin to prototype the solution. The principal engineer will remain in close contact with the customer at this time as the prototyping effort reveals many issues and questions that would normally not be discovered until well into the implementation process. Identifying and resolving issues at this stage saves the customer money, time and frustration and ensures a successful solution.
Hardware/Software Installation and Configuration
Once the system has been configured according to the specification, the initial testing phase begins. During this time, AirVault personnel will exercise the system until they are satisfied that it is ready for customer personnel to begin testing. At that time, one or more powerusers from the customer's organization will be brought in and trained on the operation of the system in its current form, so they too can exercise the system. The results of this phase will determine if the system is ready for acceptance testing and other training activities.
System administrators will attend one or more training classes offered by AirVault. These classes are designed to equip the trainee with the ability to administer the system, troubleshoot and perform system expansion tasks. In fact, users are often capable of performing all but the most complex expansion activities. Commonly, these classes will be attended by one member of the customer's IT staff and one system power user. This allows for expertise to develop in both the IT and business sides of the customer organization.
AirVault offers training classes tailored to the project at hand. While AirVault does offer end user classes when needed, we have found smaller train the trainer classes to be most effective. AirVault will educate a group of trainers (often, these are the power users) who are then able to provide training classes to the end users whenever required. The training courses cover all aspects of the software provided, but will focus on the modules and customizations that are currently a part of the implementation. Customized hardcopy and softcopy training materials are provided. The softcopy training material can be further customized and serve as a basis for end-user classes.
Once the system is in place and a cadre of users has been trained, system acceptance testing can begin. A test plan, developed by the customer in tandem with AirVault, drives this process. The test plan details tests that exercise all aspects of the system in order to demonstrate that what has been delivered meets the needs of the customer as defined by the agreement attachment, the specification, and most importantly specific business needs.
User training can be provided by AirVault or customer's training team. User training classes are focused on a particular job function (ex: scanning or indexing). Custom training materials are available.
Once the system has been implemented, users have been trained and the test plan has been completed successfully, the customer can flip the switch and begin using the system in a production mode.
Transition to Customer Support
Once the system has gone live, a project wrap-up meeting is held at AirVault. The purpose of this meeting is to facilitate knowledge transfer from the project team to the support team. The principal engineer will go through the specification and explain how and why things were implemented. This is an opportunity for the support team to ask questions so they are familiar with the entire implementation including the customer's business processes. This meeting provides the support team with the information they need to support the customer effectively from the beginning and allows the project team to provide feedback to the sales team that will be helpful in future projects.