iTrent is an integrated HR and Payroll system that enables organisations to streamline their people processes. The platform is constantly evolving with new modules being introduced and existing ones updated. For HR and Payroll managers, it can be a challenge managing these new releases and deploying the new functionality in the organisation.

With over 18 years of supporting clients with iTrent Consultancy services, our experts have pulled together some top tips to help you ensure a successful upgrade.

Select the upgrade team 

A key factor with all system upgrades is choosing the right project team or resource. The project team should be people within your business who use the iTrent system day in and day out and who can test all aspects of the system in their area of responsibility. You could look at the modules you use within your business and select a representative who knows all the ins and outs of the module. 

Although it’s not essential, it can be a good idea to appoint a lead or project manager to ensure the rest of the team stay on track and that each project milestone is completed on time.

Familiarise yourself with the upcoming upgrade

Before the project commences, be sure to familiarise yourself with the upcoming upgrade, and how the changes will impact your HR System and the way you work.

Vendors should publish information such as release notes and user guides in advance to assist with this process. An online portal may be provided where users can undertake training to help equip themselves with the new changes. Any training recommended by your vendor should be taken as often key features are communicated through these channels.

It is also imperative that other people who use the system read and familiarise themselves in the same manner, not just the project team. When your go live date approaches each person who uses the system should know how to continue working in BAU.

Create testing scripts

All members of the project team should create accurate testing scripts for your upgrade. These should be reviewed by other members outside of the project team including HR Administrators and HR Managers to ensure they are accurate.

Start making a list of the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks you undertake in your system to ensure that all scenarios are tested in your UAT period for your upgrade. To make the task simpler, you could ask your vendor for some sample testing scripts to help you on your way.

When creating your testing scripts, consider any changes that may affect the way you and your teams will work going forward and incorporate these changes into your testing scripts.

Create a project plan

A good project plan should cover the duration of your project and any pre project time and post go live time you may need. People should be assigned the tasks they are responsible for, whether they are solely or part of a joint effort and be clear on the deadlines.

A project or planning tool can be useful to assign tasks to people or a simple spreadsheet will also work. Another tip is to add key milestone dates into the project team diaries to keep everybody on track.

Plan communications

When you’re creating the project plan, start adding dates of any communications which may need to be sent to either your internal teams who have access to your HR system or the wider business.

This will depend on any downtime associated with the upgrade work. In most cases, there won’t be any downtime for preparing the UAT system to your upgrade version but there may be testing carried out by other team members which could be overwritten.

Alternatively, should your vendor require any reconciliations to be done in your live to UAT environments you may need to notify the business there will be no more payroll inputting from a certain date and time. By starting your communications earlier, it can help minimise the impact on the business.

Preparing the testing environment

Before the test environment has been upgraded, it’s good practice to ensure the data from the live system has been copied over to the testing environment. This ensures that any testing is being conducted on the most up to date data and it can make it easier to find any issues with the latest changes in the upgrade.

You should check with all teams that there is no ongoing developments currently in place in the test system as once the live data has been copied over, this will replace all existing data within that environment.

Starting your UAT testing for your upgrade system

Once the new upgrade has been released by your vendor, the full project team should have access to your upgrade environments as they do in your live environment. It goes without saying that each module you use should be thoroughly tested.

If you’re using Payroll, one of the first steps in testing should be to complete a payroll reconciliation to ensure your old and new system balances. During testing ensure you are accessing the correct UAT environments and not using your live system for any testing (other than verifying one to the other). Any differences from your UAT and Live systems, must be logged with your vendor asap for any issues to be investigated and rectified.

Do you need a hand upgrading your iTrent system? 

If you feel like you need some support upgrading your iTrent system Phase 3 can help. We are experts in iTrent implementation and utilisation and help teams both big and small to get the most out of their iTrent system. To find out how we can help you contact us here