A Regional Healthcare System in the Northeast signed a letter of intent to merge with a larger Regional Healthcare System. The transition would address several business challenges they experienced and would integrate them into a larger, financially stable healthcare system. In addition to the business aspect of the merger, the transition was significant for employees, patients, and the community at large because they didn’t want to lose the culture, character, and values that had been a key part of the hospital‘s identity since its founding. After a failed negotiation to merge with another large hospital system, the newly signed agreement meant smooth transition activities would be a sensitive priority. Both hospital systems used Lawson across their organizations so Lawson was identified as a key element in the successful integration of organizations and systems. The integration of their Lawson systems across Supply Chain Management, Accounting, Finance, HR Payroll and Benefits would affect every patient and employee of both healthcare systems.
The CIO of the larger healthcare system reached out to Surety Systems for help leading the successful Lawson integration. The merging hospital, which included a 230 bed facility, primary and urgent care clinics, and a unique home health hospice, presented a complex situation for IT leadership. The Lawson system of the smaller hospital was hosted and controlled within their previous parent organization.
Similarly, the larger hospital system had an outsourced relationship with a third party provider who provided hosting services for their Lawson system. As a result of the hosted environments the IT teams within both organizations had limited System Administrators and experienced Lawson experts. The go-live date was set to coincide with the larger organization’s fiscal year end, which left only nine months to integrate and transition the two disparate Lawson implementations and workflows.
Surety Systems provided a seasoned Lawson Project Manager who began his consulting engagement by meeting with the larger healthcare systems’ IT leadership. Through meetings with the merging system’s IT Program Transition Director and the CIO, the PM gained an understanding of their vision of success and project scope. He also relied on the Transition Service Agreement (TSA), a high level draft of the legal responsibilities and scope for the IT transition in the merger. From those meetings, working as the Lawson Transition Project Manager, the Surety Systems consultant created a framework for the transition project plan and used that to engage key stakeholders in the merger.
Interactive meetings with both hospital’s CIOs, CFOs, and Lawson Team Leads provided essential clarification of the goals, milestones and associated challenges that lay ahead. After defining project scope, goals, and timeline, the PM was able to initiate regular meetings with a Lawson Transition Team comprised of Team Leads and core Lawson users across Materials Management, Finance, and Accounts Payable. The Lawson integration plan was divided into two phases, each based on the internal core competencies of team members at the two organizations. Phase I focused on the integration of Supply Chain Management, Accounts Payable, and GL/finance. Go-live was set for October, 1. Phase II focused on transitioning Benefits/Open Enrollment by early November, followed by the integration of their HR Payroll system, with the first Integrated payroll to occur in early January.
Because this was the merger of two multifaceted organizations, several variables added to the complexity of the transition process. Several high-level meetings between leadership at the two merging organizations and the previous parent organization were needed to solidify specific details in the Transition Services Agreement (TSA). Another key factor that added project complexity were the two disparate Supply Chain models in effect at the outset. One was based on the perpetual inventory model, while the other model was based on Just in Time delivery of needed medical supplies. This meant addressing business workflow as well as Lawson configuration. In addition, there were different suppliers, contracts, and pricing in the mix, making the Item and Vendor Master cross-walk files of critical importance. Finally, the merger required the state government to issue a Certificate of Need before the planner Phase I go-live on 10/1. The certificate, however, was not issued by the date expected, resulting in pushing out the go-live date by a full month.
Several previously unidentified challenges were uncovered in the execution of the project specific to Lawson. One gap identified in the Lawson workflow was that one system had fully implemented and was using both Manager Self Service (MSS) and Employee Self Service (ESS) while the other was using ESS only. The Surety Systems Consultant identified the gap and then created a specific MSS-focused workgroup to assess the situation and develop the path forward. Specific Lawson skill-sets were identified as additional shortfalls for a successful transition. IT leadership helped identify internal resources and align them with the integration team.
Through detailed planning and regular reviews of project progress, issues, risks, resource capabilities, and potential roadblocks, the Surety Systems Lawson Project Manager was able to lead two disparate complex heath systems through the transition and integration of their critical Supply Chain Management, Accounts Payable, Finance, HR Payroll, and Benefits systems and workflows. The Surety Systems’ Lawson Project Manager provided the expertise and experience needed to conceptualize, develop, and lead the combined teams to a successful close of this major Lawson integration project.