Understanding a Centerbase Migration

Last Updated: April 28, 2021

Congratulations and welcome to the Centerbase family! You’ve taken the leap and decided to move your practice to Centerbase, so what’s next?

The goal of our onboarding and implementation processes is to ensure that the transition from your technologies to Centerbase is as smooth and seamless as possible.

Below we are going to walk you through a sample implementations plan that will outline general expectations from both your team and ours, as well as all the milestones that will aid in your firm’s long-term success with Centerbase.

It is important to note that while our suggested onboarding and implementation time frame is 8-12 weeks, every firm has different targets and objectives. Because of this, we can adapt to accommodate your firm’s needs by either accelerating or extending this timeline in order to meet your firm’s desired roll-out plan.

Like any new relationship, it is important to begin by establishing a partnership between your firm and the implementation team. In order to help you plan your future, it is crucial that you rely on us and feel comfortable communicating your needs, expectations, and pain-points. This is an incredibly exciting time, but it can also be daunting! To combat the natural stress that comes with this process, you will be paired with a Project Manager and Implementation Specialist who will be there for you every step along the way. Take a deep breath and enjoy the process, you’re with Centerbase now!

phase 0

Implementation Scoping

 

Scoping Call: A member of our Implementations team will join the pre-sales process to assist your firm with determining the right amount of data to migrate to Centerbase.

Kick-Off Call: Following receiving your autograph, the first step will be to conduct your firm’s kick-off call. This call will serve as the introductory welcome to Centerbase with a few high-level discussion topics. On the call, we will discuss the following:

  • Introduce you to your Centerbase Project Manager
  • Confirm your onboarding dates
  • Discuss what a successful roll-out would look like to your firm
  • Schedule a Current System Call to discuss in more depth what technologies you’re coming from and the associated pain points related to such systems

Phase 0 Takeaways

What you can expect from the Centerbase team:

  • You will be receiving your finalized implementation dates
  • You will be receiving a meeting invitation for your Current System Call

What Centerbase will expect from you:

  • Signed Implementation plan
  • A User List that contains:
    • Full Name and Initials
    • Previous System Usernames
    • E-Mail Addresses
  • Bill Templates
  • A PNG or JPEG file of your firm’s logo
phase 1

Getting Started: Setting Expectations & Outlining Your Data Migration

 

Every firm will have a successful roll-out plan, but what does that mean exactly? Doesn’t everyone want a successful roll-out? The short answer is yes, but success comes in many different forms.

To one firm, success may mean onboarding as quickly as possible while another may want to extend their transition to a longer period of time to implement new processes and lose bad habits. There is no right way to do it, it is completely up to you and what you need.

In order for our team to best assist your firm with defining success, we have created some milestones to set the foundation for your migration:

Milestone 1

Current System Call – During this call, we will discuss your current processes. We will dive deeper into what you love about them or what you want to change. Additionally, we will discuss how you’re using your current system to achieve your goals and maintain the processes you have in place. As we go through this call, it is best practice to enable screen share on your devices so that you may visually explain how and where you store your data within the system.

Milestone 1 Takeaway

What you can expect from the Centerbase team:

  • We will provide your firm with our Current System Call questionnaire after the kick-off call
  • Take screenshots of examples to be used during the test import phase. The examples we are looking for include:
    • Screenshots of your data and how you lay everything out (for example, for matter X, your firm has specific settings enabled, for matter Y you attach notes to it, for matter Z you have custom fields, and so on.
  • Make the introduction to Implementation Specialist

What Centerbase will expect from you:

  • Ensure that your internal stakeholders are assisting with answering the Current Systems questionnaire
  • Submit questionnaire before the next call to allow the Centerbase team to review it
  • Schedule the pertinent internal personnel for the call

Milestone 2

Technical Call – During this call, we will discuss the technical side of your data migration. If you have a third-party IT company, they may have questions and are encouraged to join! The objective of this call is to understand and secure the following:

  • Establish that both your firm and our team are aligned with expectations for timing.
  • Generating your backup(s) and reports
  • Delivering backups and reports to the Implementations team
  • Installing the necessary Microsoft Add-ins
  • Configuring your Mail Server Settings
  • Granting the Implementation team access to your current data (either through a login or remote access)

Milestone 2 Takeaways

What you can expect from the Centerbase team:

  • Create database and activate users
  • We will send you an email reminder the week before test import with uploading instructions
  • Provide and explain the Chart of Accounts template

What Centerbase will expect from you:

  • Begin any data cleanup before the test import
  • Communicate / Ensure all users are out of the system before backup(s) and reports are generated
  • Provide Centerbase the backup(s) and reports on the scheduled date
PHASE 2

Test Import & Data Validation

Estimated Time: 2 weeks

 

We have found that providing our Clients with a test migration makes the final transition smoother for all parties involved. This test migration will do the following for your firm:

  • Allow your firm to have a trial run on delivering the data to Centerbase
  • Enable you to work with the Implementation Specialist to validate or make any changes to the migrated data
  • Give you an opportunity to receive training on your own data within the system
  • Allow you to begin customizing your database in preparation for the final migration.

This is a two-week process that begins with the Implementation Specialist migrating the data during the first week and validating with your assistance during the second. This phase strengthens the partnership as there may be road bumps or discrepancies that we need your assistance to resolve.

Phase 2 Takeaways

What you can expect from the Centerbase team:

  • Perform the test migration
  • Provide the you with daily progress updates
  • Schedule first data validation call
  • Customize training plan with you
  • Grant access to the system for requested users
  • Upload bill templates to your database

What Centerbase will expect from you:

  • Be available for questions from the team during this two week period
  • Gather specific examples (Clients, Matters, Settings, etc.) to use during the data validation with your Implementation Specialist

PHASE 3

Training + Testing & Customizing Your Database

Estimated Time: 6 weeks

 

Now that your test data has been migrated and Super Users have access to the database, it’s time to learn how to implement Centerbase best practices for short-term and long-term success!

It is during this phase where you should expect to dedicate more of your time to the Centerbase migration. Our Implementation Manager, Alexandra Furr, encourages firms to “do the work early” because it is easy to get overwhelmed after the final migration. Results have proven that the more time and effort your firm can invest into this phase, the more successful the transition will be.

Additionally, we use Phase 3 as an opportunity to establish and coach your firm’s Super Users. Super Users include your system administrators or personnel or any individual from different departments within your firm who have the strongest grasp of the new software and who will be in charge of the Centerbase migration. The goal of these users is to be prepared and make sure that the objectives of each training session are being met and discussed.

Your Project Manager will work with your designated Super Users to schedule and implement a customized training plan. Super Users should plan to attend all training sessions and can decide if additional users should join certain sessions/topics.

Training topics include:

  • Super User/Admin
  • Security ***
  • Timekeeping
  • Billing
  • Accounting
  • Reporting

Training classes will be scheduled by your Project Manager and your Implementation Specialist will check-in with you every two weeks to see how training and testing is going. It is at this time where we will also answer any questions you may have leading into the final migration.

 

Phase 3 Takeaways

What you can expect from the Centerbase team:

  • Schedule out all of your training sessions
  • Send your firm recordings of each session
  • Assist with the setup of eligible partner integrations

What Centerbase will expect from you:

  • Attend all training sessions
  • Block out time to login to Centerbase and test the system
  • Customize your database
  • Organize a list of questions to review with your Implementation Specialist
  • Approve bill templates
  • Perform data clean-up or manipulation in current system for final migration

 


 

When to do Security Training?

Some firms take the less is more or the “we don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen” approach and others want testing from every department beforehand. Truth be told, it’s all about finding the perfect balance and what is right for your firm.  

For example, some firms have provided feedback that they would like to receive security training once all of the other sessions have been completed. This gives the firm a chance for the Super Users to learn all of the functionality first before granting users access to certain records and granting them permission to perform certain functionality.

In other cases, firms have also provided feedback saying that they want to lock down records as early as possible to grant more users access during the training/testing phase. 

Again, there is no one right way to do things! It is throughout this phase where we will uncover what will work best for your firm. 

PHASE 4

Final Migration and Transition

Estimated Time: 5 Days

 

You’ve spent weeks, maybe even months, preparing for this final migration and it’s finally here! Your Project Manager will confirm the firm’s last day in your current system and will provide the final migration delivery instructions. Once Centerbase receives the final database(s) and reports, the team will begin the week-long migration process. The length of this process may fluctuate, but it will not take longer than 5 business days.

Day 1: Import Practice Management Data & Rates 

  • EOD: Review Practice Management data with you

Day 2: Practice Management Go-Live

  • Timekeepers can access Matter/Client information and begin entering their time into Centerbase

Day 2 – 4: Import WIP + Financial Data

  • EOW: Review Financial data with you

Day 5: Billing & Accounting Go-Live

  • Your Billing and Accounting team(s) may begin processing financial transactions in Centerbase

Downtime expectations: 

  • 1 business day for Timekeepers
  • 3-5 business days (dependent on type of migration) for Financial Team

After the Practice Management and Billing & Accounting Go-Lives have passed, your Project Manager will schedule a time for a member of our Support team to assist you with the generation of your first bills in Centerbase. Once the first round of bills is completed, the Implementation Manager will conduct a sign-off call and initiate the transition from the Implementation team to our internal Support team.

 

Phase 4 Takeaways

What you can expect from the Centerbase team:

  • Import data
  • Provide you with daily updates
  • Schedule your first round of bills session
  • Communicate downtime expectations to your firm

What Centerbase will expect from you: 

  • Log all users out of the system
  • Generate backup(s) and reports
  • Deliver backup(s) and reports to Centerbase
  • Distribute user login information to staff

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