We don't publicize it much, but Escape Technology has a large user group, run by our customers. It meets quarterly, using a satellite video system. We often attend at Placer COE since their office is close to ours. I attended the last one at Ventura COE's office in Camarillo. But listening to something James Anderberg of Placer COE made me contact him afterward. We realized it had been five full years since Placer COE and their districts went live on our system. The Placer COE project was the first county-wide implementation for brand new Escape Online 5 Finance/HR/Payroll/COE system. As you would expect, there were plenty of wrong turns and potholes in the beginning! In the end, it was the great project plan and ongoing management quarterbacked by James that kept everyone going.
On this anniversary, I asked James to share a few thoughts for our blog:
It has been five years since the Placer County Office of Education and its district partners first completed its county-wide payroll utilizing Escape’s Online 5 software. While anniversaries of this nature are not widely recognized, this monumental milestone certainly has not passed me by. I am still in awe of the initiative of all those involved that were able to manage change in a way that made this complex transition possible. This multi-phased implementation could not have happened without the leadership of our Journey to Escape Task Force team, who facilitated the move of approximately 900 users in 22 organizations through all three of Escape’s modules in 18 months.
What continues to be an important element in systemic change is the need to think about collective impact. We were able to find emergent solutions toward a multiple of outcomes through ongoing meetings, trainings, mentoring, and of course, trial and error. These processes enabled all participants to actively engage in the methods the Task Force used for data migration, software setup, and user training. Through a shared vision for the possibilities of what Escape could ultimately do for our organizations, we were able to identify problems and find solutions through a joint approach that involved key stakeholders across the county. We found that this helped everyone to have a forum to share their successes as well as their frustrations. We learned together in concert with our ESCAPE partners who provided incredible support.
We have been open to sharing our process with other organizations throughout the state to provide lessons learned and best practices. If you would like to hear more about our approaches to project management, change management, and ongoing process improvement, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
James Anderberg, Executive Director, Administrative Services
Placer County Office of Education, Auburn, CA
From all of us here at Escape, a warm Thank You to James, the rest of the great folks at Placer COE, and all the users across their districts. You gave us an awesome start, and Escape and our entire customer base is going strong.