Demystifying the ConnectWise implementation process

| By:
Kathy Smith

If we had a list of questions our partners ask us most often, those about the implementation process would score near the top. As they prepare to implement one of our solutions—whether that’s ConnectWise Manage®, ConnectWise Sell®, ConnectWise Automate®, or another—partners wonder what to expect, what their options are, and how they can gain the most from the process. Join us as we address some commonly asked questions about the implementation process and what it entails.

What is the goal of the implementation process?

As we prepare to help partners implement their chosen solution, we start with a long-term goal in mind:

To cultivate a relationship with every partner we touch, allowing them to achieve success through our suite of products. Our passion is to help partners understand the core concepts of our software to enable the maturity of their business, and our coaching ensures their ability to better their business and their culture.

Through the implementation process, we want to make sure you have the software installed, configured, and operating properly so you can gain the most from our solutions. Put simply, our goal is to help you successfully implement the new software to improve and optimize your business.

What will the implementation process include?

Implementation includes many moving parts, and the option you choose (we’ll discuss these in a bit) will determine how much involvement your ConnectWise consultant has in that process. Typically, a ConnectWise consultant will do the following:

  • Guide you through the implementation process
  • Verify that you’ll be able to complete tasks and schedule training sessions according to the implementation timeline
  • Manage communications to ensure stakeholders receive expectations and progress reports
  • Work to maintain project schedules and milestone projections
  • Use implementation hours to assist on issues between scheduled meetings, if necessary
  • Give you the option to record meetings for future reference
  • Upon completion, provide a project summary that includes support contacts and ongoing education materials

At regular intervals during implementation, we’ll meet with you for a number of working sessions. During these sessions, we’ll review functionality and set-up, and we’ll cover items that you’ll need to complete before the next call. Regular status reports and calls will also help us review your team’s progress.

We’ll keep you updated as to what we’re doing on our end to help implementation go smoothly, and you can let us know how far the project has progressed since our last call. Working sessions and calls also allow us to update the project plan, discuss next steps, and share any new or vital information. Ongoing communication is critical to successful implementation, which is why we’ll remain in close contact with you throughout the process.

How long will the implementation take?

Our implementation process occurs in three stages: onboarding, implementation, and go live.

During onboarding (1-4 weeks), a service delivery coordinator will help guide you through set-up. Steps include a) completing the required documents, b) configuring your server for the new system, and c) scheduling time for your administrator to meet with the ConnectWise consultant. Once you’ve completed these steps, we’ll assign you a consultant who will help you and your team create a timeline and plan for stage 2.

Implementation (4-12 weeks) is our deep dive. Your consultant will present an implementation plan and hold sessions to configure the ConnectWise solution for your team. On your end, you or your administrator will need to review set-up and perform user acceptance testing. The duration of implementation depends on the size of your business, the number of team members you’ve dedicated to the project, and the depth of the services you choose.

Last of all is go live (1-4 weeks), when your consultant helps your team roll out the new software, and stands by to answer any questions. They’ll provide support as you complete training, tie up loose ends, and make your final plans to go live. At that point, we’ll hand everything over to you.

The amount of time needed to properly implement the new ConnectWise solution will depend on what you’re implementing. ConnectWise Automate and ConnectWise Sell are usually quicker to implement than ConnectWise Manage, but that’s due to the robust nature of this PSA solution. It’s built to power all your business operating needs, so transitioning onto this platform can take some time. Your consultant will be able to give you a personalized time estimate based on the details of your company and the solutions you’ve purchased.

Who should be part of the implementation team?

Choose your implementation team wisely. At the least, your team should include a project manager, an SME (subject matter expert), and an end user. Depending on the size and capacity of your organization, you may choose to include several SMEs and end-users, or additional team members.

Team members should know ahead of time that, unless your company has a large capacity, the implementation process will likely occur on top of normal work hours. Of course, you may be able to assign certain team members to work solely on implementation and assign other employees to cover their normal roles until the project is complete, but not every company has that ability.

On that note, make sure to give your team enough time to train with the consultant. Your team project manager will probably need to spend around 50% of their weekly time on implementation. If any team member is absent during the implementation process, it can set you back significantly, so plan implementation carefully around holidays and vacation time.

What are my implementation options?

ConnectWise offers several options for implementation, each one catered to a different type of organization.

Virtual training

If you choose virtual training, you’ll receive access to ConnectWise University, a wealth of online training courses that covers the five core implementation topics. You’ll also receive three hours with a consultant. Virtual training is ideal for a small company, or for a company that’s already somewhat familiar with ConnectWise solutions. Classes are self-led and self-directed with a live virtual classroom. Though you’ll have access to support, you’ll be responsible for figuring out most of the information yourself.

Peer training

If you’re a small business that wants to get implementation up and running quickly, and if you can spare a team member to work solely on the project until it goes live, then peer training is an ideal option. You’ll have access to ConnectWise experts who possess industry experience and a deep product knowledge. During a period of two weeks, you’ll gain a basic understanding of how your purchased solution works, along with a 360 degree process view. Your team member will train under ConnectWise as you learn how to set up and implement your solution.

1:1 implementation

1:1 implementation gives you the most involved, supportive option for implementing your solution. The ConnectWise team will explore your end user’s business needs and design an implementation strategy accordingly. After thorough research, ConnectWise will work side by side with your team to smoothly implement and help you gain the most from your products. This option allows for greater collaboration and can be scheduled around your company’s needs, with the option for onsite training.

How can I gain the most from implementation?

We want to help you gain the most from the implementation process, which is why we suggest you take steps to optimize your team’s training. Here are some best practices we recommend.

  1. Do your homework. Before implementation, be sure to complete your assigned coursework. ConnectWise University can be a valuable tool when you leverage it properly. Familiarize yourself with the information on the site so you can capitalize on the time you’ll receive with your consultant.
  2. Give your team enough time for training. Your team needs plenty of time to complete training and review the implementation process with your assigned consultant. Ensure that they’re available to give their full attention to implementation, and that they’re not overbooked.
  3. Select a capable team. The quality of your team can make or break the implementation process, so be sure to select your team members carefully. Knowledgeable, seasoned employees usually function best on an implementation team.
  4. Prioritize the implementation plan. During this process, the implementation plan takes precedence. Prioritize implementation and schedule the rest of your work events around it, so your team can be truly invested and attentive. It may seem inconvenient, but it will pay off later on.
  5. Keep learning. After implementation, keep leveraging the many resources we provide for continuing education: live webinars, local user groups, events, and online education. As a ConnectWise partner, you can attend many of these events for free.

We hope this answers your questions about implementation. If you have more, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re dedicated to helping your business mature and grow, and that means providing you with all the information you need to achieve success.