Successful change from Excel to AG5

In this article, we would like to highlight the most important factors that need to be considered for a successful AG5 implementation.

At AG5, we onboard a diverse group of organizations from various industries onto our platform, from large enterprises with more than 10,000 employees to small companies with 50 employees. While they may differ in process, these customers share a common goal: transitioning from Excel to AG5 for skills management.

From various implementations, we’ve learned that different factors determine whether an AG5 implementation is a complex and challenge process – or smooth sailing to skills management mastery.

In this article, we would like to highlight the most important factors that need to be considered for a successful AG5 implementation.

Top 5 factors for a successful AG5 implementation Copied

Below, you can find five key factors that contribute to a successful AG5 implementation. Of course, there are more than five factors to consider when implementing AG5, but we’ve learned that if organizations can at least consider the following, we can guarantee a successful AG5 implementation.

Dedicated implementation lead

Whether we need to implement AG5 in a single location or multiple locations, it is crucial to have an implementation lead on the customer’s side. The implementation lead needs to make sure that the transition from Excel to AG5 is well managed internally.

An effective implementation lead:

  • Manages the communication between AG5 and the customer organization and ensures all stakeholders are well-informed during the transition period
  • Manages the internal obstacles to ensure progress is not delayed or stalled
  • Ensures sufficient resources are available for each site implementing AG5
  • Acts as the central point of contact for both internal organization and AG5

Active participation and commitment

All stakeholders who used to manage skills with Excel must be actively engaged during the transition process to ensure they can successfully use AG5. When there is active participation and commitment during this process, we often see that stakeholders are truly no longer using Excel (i.e. they confirm that they have fully deleted their Excel spreadsheets).

Completing the ‘Train the Trainer’ program

To ensure operational processes are not delayed or disturbed, the key users of AG5 within an organization need to complete our “Train the Trainer” program, as it ensures they have all the knowledge to efficiently use AG5’s skills management software.

Internal change and rollout management

We see that many customers have large Excel spreadsheets they use to manage skills, requirements, history, and employee information. These spreadsheets are often very complex, especially if multiple people are using the same sheet.To ensure employees stop using Excel and start using AG5, it is very important to manage the internal change and rollout. This becomes more important if you need to implement AG5 in multiple locations, because you are dealing with many stakeholders who will be daily users of the software.

Data migration and integration

You can only replace Excel if users can start managing skills with the same dataset in AG5. This is crucial – if you don’t complete the data migration or integration with your HR or LMS system, there is a strong probability that users won’t stop using their good, old Excel spreadsheets.

5 things to avoid during an AG5 implementation Copied

As we strive for success in transitioning our customers to AG5, we also face numerous challenges. Here, we’ve identified several common pitfalls that may cause delays or even halt the onboarding process.

Lack of internal ownership and leadership

Sometimes, we encounter a customer’s implementation lead who is not taking ownership or leading the internal change correctly. In these cases, it becomes difficult for us to achieve a successful implementation of AG5.

The reason for this is simple: We don’t have any control of the customer’s internal organization. We can proceed with the implementation process to a certain extent, but if there is no ownership or leadership from the lead or key users, the whole process is at risk of delay.

  • Our recommendation: Make sure to identify the implementation lead before the start of the implementation. Additionally, clearly define the lead’s scope of responsibilities to ensure ownership and leadership.

Insufficient commitment and engagement

In addition to a committed implementation lead, the key users of AG5 must also be committed and engaged – especially with our “Train the Trainer” program.

If the key users themselves are not testing AG5 – and are not participating actively in the training process – we can’t effectively proceed with the implementation. This is because the key users are the ones who will train the daily users – and might even be daily users themselves.

  • Our recommendation: Before the AG5 implementation begins, get formal commitment from the departments, teams, or levels that will have involved employees. Also, be sure to get commitment from your organization’s leadership. Keep them informed during the implementation process to ensure ongoing support.

Inadequate resource allocation

When HR, Quality, or Operations departments want to use AG5, they need to have the resources available to do so.

Specifically, this means that the implementation lead, key users, and daily users must have time to participate. If resources are not made available for these stakeholders, the implementation is at risk.

  • Our recommendation: Before the implementation, make sure to allocate resources to HR, Quality, Operations, or any other involved department.

Internal IT issues with existing HR and LMS systems

Should they want to do so, customers can integrate their HR and learning management processes with AG5.

However, when we begin the AG5 implementation, we will run AG5 training and integration in parallel. This means that the customer’s organization must have IT resources available to build the integration.

We have previously seen Excel sheets replaced, but users left with a great deal of manual work, because IT doesn’t have the resources to fully integrate existing systems with AG5.

  • Our recommendation:  Get IT involved only when you start your integration. For example, if you first want to replace all the Excel sheets from your organization, involve IT after you do so.

Change in project scope or stakeholders

At the beginning of each implementation, we establish a defined scope and identify all stakeholders involved. Changes to these after the implementation process starts can lead to delays.

For example, we’ve had instances where the customer’s implementation lead is replaced with a new lead. We’ve also experienced scope changes that see customers requesting additional integrations. These changes often result in significant delays or a complete stall in the implementation process.

  • Our recommendation: Define a clear scope – and get commitment for it – before starting your AG5 implementation.

Our commitment to your AG5 implementation Copied

We provide advice on how to handle common challenges in transitioning from Excel to AG5, as well as support in making the change a success. Read on to learn how we are dedicated to assisting your organization in effectively managing skills in AG5.

Pre-implementation preparation

Before your organization makes a commitment to AG5, our sales team will help you prepare the for the implementation. Here, their aim is to ensure all aspects of the change are solid from both a contractual and organizational perspective. They will also involve AG5’s onboarding team or IT team to support your organization in the initial stages.

Clearly defined objectives

The onboarding process has clearly defined objectives. The first is to provide customized training that is in line with your organization’s current skills management needs.

The second objective is to migrate your skills data into AG5, so you have historical skills data for potential audits and can proceed with AG5 without referencing your old Excel spreadsheets.

The third objective is to integrate your HRIS or LMS systems with AG5 to align them with your skills management strategy.

Dedicated implementation specialist

Whether it’s a global launch or a minor setup, we’ll assign you a dedicated implementation expert from the start. This will help ensure the successful onboarding of your organization onto AG5 by ensuring that all objectives are met on schedule, within budget, and at a high standard.

Tailored training program

Our software is continuously improving, and we have various skills management solutions. Do we train every customer in every solution? No, we tailor our training to the skills management needs and requirements of our customers.

Before the start of the training session, we have a solutions design phase, in which we discuss the solution the customer wants to start with. Based on this step, we will tailor the training program to provide the software knowledge that is most relevant to you.

Expert assistance with data migration & system integration

Our dedicated implementation specialists will lead data migration and system integration objectives, but they will be supported by their implementation, integration, and IT teams. Whenever there is expert knowledge required from a data or IT perspective, our lead will be sure to bring in the right stakeholders.

Regular checkpoints and progress tracking

To ensure your AG5 implementation stays on schedule, within budget, and meets quality standard, we will plan weekly sessions to track its progress. We do this for every single customer, as we have learned that these sessions keep both sides (AG5 and the customer) aligned and informed.


Ready to take the next step toward mastering skills management? Copied

By considering the above before and during your AG5 implementation, you can ensure that the transition process is smooth and successful.

Additionally, you can read the below blogs to understand more about AG5 integrations, data migrations, and training:

Want to learn more about AG5 implementation on a local or global scale? Get in touch! We’re eager to answer any questions you may have!

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Original version | October 18, 2023

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Related posts

Use AG5 to identify skill gaps

Say goodbye to Excel matrices. Start using AG5’s plug and play skill matrix software.

Get started now

ISO27001 certified     Free trial available