Your Journey to Escape

As a company that has been implementing California school business software for over three decades, we should have a good handle on how to do implementations successfully and efficiently. Still, the amount of projects we have completed since introducing Escape Online 5 is remarkable for a company of any size.

With a repeatable and effective approach, Escape was able to manage implementations for numerous COEs and several single districts over the past few years. Following each implementation, we determine how the processes can be improved and update them accordingly. The five phases of Project Management are the basis for the standards and operational procedures utilized during our implementations.

Escape Technology uses a team approach to project management that utilizes the concept of project roles as outlined below. Depending upon the size of your implementation, an individual may perform several roles.

Our Team

Escape Technology assigns a number of roles to your project:

  • Escape Technology Project Manager – Responsible for coordinating the efforts of all Escape Technology staff, coordinating with Customer Project Manager and serving as the subject matter expert (SME) on Escape Online 5.
  • Project Analyst– Responsible for scheduling meetings and working with the Project Manager to maintain all project documents and to assist as needed.
  • Data Technician – Responsible for translating and importing customer data to Escape Online 5.
  • Technical Support – Responsible for assisting Customer System Manager setting up Escape Online 5 and to provide System Administration Training.
  • Trainer – Responsible for providing training to users, from system management to end users, both on-site and in the Escape Technology Training Center.
  • Support Representative – Responsible for assisting the Project Manager with system set up as needed and coordinating ongoing support.

Your Team

Typically, this is a small group of decision makers representing affected departments:

  • Customer Project Manager – Single point of contact for the project. Responsible for coordinating your staff and acting as a liaison to Escape Technology and the districts. Ensures the project tasks owned by you and the districts are being completed on schedule.
  • Finance, HR, and Payroll Subject Matter Experts - Responsible for making decisions regarding system set up and performing acceptance and parallel testing.
  • System Manager – Responsible for setting up and maintaining hardware, software and network. Also responsible for ensuring all users have access to the system.
  • Finance and HR/Payroll Software Support - Responsible for supporting COE end users and coordinating with Escape Customer Care as needed. (This need may vary depending on the size of the COE or district-only implementation.)

Project Management

The first step is to create the Project Charter. Escape Technology executives and the Escape Online Project Manager work with the customer executives and project manager to spell out the scope and timing of the project.

This signed and dated document becomes the roadmap for the implementation. If the implementation needs to take place in phases, each phase will have its own project charter.

Project Charter

The project charter conveys the purpose and requirements of the project, and conveys project management’s expectations for the project and the high-level information used to plan, execute and control the project.

We begin with a well-designed and time-tested template. The Escape Technology Project Manager works with the Customer Project Manager to customize the template for the given project, detailing the standard functionality that will be included in your project, custom development, timelines, milestones, risks and success factors.

The project charter is signed and dated by both the customer and Escape, and it is the blueprint of the project, which cannot be changed or modified unless both parties agree to the changes.

Project Schedule

The project schedule outlines all the work that needs to be completed for the project and is the main tool used for managing the project.

Kickoff Meeting

Sonoma COE kickoff meeting back in 2008

Sonoma COE kickoff meeting back in 2008

This meeting formally “kicks off” the project. All members review the project charter, establish working procedures and ensure a common vision for the project. This gives everyone an opportunity to ask questions about the project, understand how it will impact them and gives them a basic understanding of how the project will be managed.

Change Management

Customer-requested changes that arise after project charter approval must be submitted to the Escape project manager. The project manager documents and estimates the impact to the project and notifies the customer.

If the customer chooses to proceed with the change, the project manager modifies the project charter’s scope and timeline accordingly.

Custom Development

Escape Technology works closely with you to design and implement your purchase orders, paychecks, ACH, COE files, etc. We have a complete set of standard COE and district reports, but will work with you to customize any additional reports you may need. The specifications and development of the custom programming is detailed in the project charter.

Rollout

This is where the rubber meets the road! Escape returns to your site for the final conversion, training and deployment. We are onsite for your first two AP check runs and pay dates. In addition, we are available to guide you through live requisition, budget and timecard entry.

Immediately following live operations, you may continue to contact your project manager with issues and questions. Once your new system is established, you will be transitioned to our exceptional customer care.

Customers Say

I am so pleased that we chose Escape for our financial software system. The product itself is excellent, but it is the kind and supportive staff at Escape that made this an outstanding choice for our county! 
~ Deputy Superintendent, Business Services 

We love what you have done for us, and are very glad to have made the decision to go with Escape. Problems and challenges always come up in projects. I think its the responses to the problems, not the problems themselves, that define relationships. Your response has been honorable, professional, and without hesitation. You are officially my personal favorite vendor today! 
~ Analyst, Business Services Division 

As of today, we have been on the new Escape Online 5 system for a little over a week. The conversion went quite smooth; we were down for less than one day on July 1. Since then we have done a payroll run, several AP runs, and are now beginning budget revisions. All of the reports are showing the kinds of numbers we are expecting.  
~ Chief Business Officer 

From training to implementation support to custom software, Escape has been creative and responsive. 
   ~ Business Systems Manager