Phase 0: Project preparation to ensure success

Look ahead to create harmonized business processes for an efficient implementation, roll-out, and the future of your IT system.

According to McKinsey, "Life Science companies have a distinct opportunity to gain true competitive modernizing their core technology." One step many companies take towards modernizing their technology is to implement a cloud-based IT system. But to do this successfully, you must ask yourself where your business is today, where you want it to go, and what you need to do to get there. At Epista, the process of answering these key questions is what we call "Phase 0." This pre-project phase helps you look ahead to create harmonized business processes for an efficient implementation and roll-out.

Where does Phase 0 fall in the implementation process?

A Phase 0 occurs after system selection but before system configuration in the implementation process. This is because, just as with any project, you must prepare properly. Phase 0 prepares you by ensuring the consideration all stakeholders, assessing, and streamlining existing processes.

Gathering relevant business areas and stakeholders

What good is a new IT system if it does not work for everyone that will eventually use it? By understanding from the start who has a stake in the system, you avoid having to make changes later, since everyone's requirements have already been considered. This ensures that you will be able to understand, holistically, what the current state of your business is and where you want to be in the future. Once you know who to talk to, the work to determine and define the processes can begin.

Understanding necessary requirements and processes

Whether you are implementing a cloud-based IT system for the first time or changing from one system to another, chances are you have existing procedures. So far in Phase 0, you have determined who your system stakeholders are. Now, you can use them to determine what requirements they have, and which processes are important. By assessing and streamlining existing processes and requirements against stakeholder requirements, good business practices, and system/vendor capabilities, you will go into the configuration phase with a concrete direction - rather than having to try defining it all during configuration.

Assessing and streamlining existing processes

You have gathered all the requirements and processes, but before configuration, you must assess them against both the new system and good business practices. Start by asking yourself:

  • What can the solution deliver?
  • What is the out-of-the-box approach? Can it work for us?
  • What are the limitations of our selected system?
  • Are our processes outdated?
  • How can we make them more structured and efficient?
  • Can we reduce the complexity of our processes by streamlining existing ones?

In Phase 0, we address these questions with workshops and iterations where we determine the pain points, what works well, the needs of each business area, and the current versus future status of the business. This gives you the opportunity to harmonize your processes and to address any potential application crossovers.

Other Important Considerations

While proper system configuration is objectively one of the most significant parts of the any implementation project, you also need to take people into consideration in addition to system requirements.

Project Management

Implementing a new IT system is a complicated endeavour involving many people from many different business areas. This includes those directly involved with system choices and end users that will work with the system every day after implementation. This means that your project will involve a great deal of planning, organization, and management to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Organizational Change Management

At the end of an implementation, you want the end users to work with the system as efficiently as possible. To accomplish this, people need to be able to confidently use and understand the system. Because regardless of how well a system meets your business needs, if the end users cannot comfortably use it, then you will not meet your goals. That is why you need to get people on board so that they are open to change and want to use the new system rather than see it as a hurdle or a challenge.

Building the right team

The right team can make or break a project. That is why we recommend involving three parties: You (the business), the system vendor, and an implementation partner. Why three you ask? To ensure that you have an expert for every part of the project.

You represent the business needs. Your partners could have all the knowledge in the world, but in the end, only you know what is best for your business, which processes you need, and what you need in the future.

The system vendor provides system and technical expertise. Just as you know your business, they know their system.

Epista as your implementation partner brings expertise throughout the duration of the project. Depending on your needs, this can include search and selection, Phase 0, configuration, validation, project management, migration, managed operations, and more. An implementation partner should know the system and be able to translate the needs of your stakeholders, provide the appropriate SMEs, and skillfully bridge the gap between the vendor and your business.

In other words, one joint and knowledgeable team is the key to a successful implementation project.


As a transitional phase between search and selection and configuration, Phase 0 provides you with a well-defined scope of which processes need to be moved to the new system, clear configuration requirements, stakeholder agreement and alignment, and prioritization of processes for the initial implementation and potential subsequent iterations.

Invest effort into your system implementation even before project kick-off and reap the benefits of a central, harmonized backbone that will help you reach your business goals, whatever they are.

Want to learn more about Phase 0 and how it can help you get the most out of your new IT system? Get in contact, we would love to tell you more about our experience running a Phase 0 with Life Science companies.

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Oliver Bosch
Director Consulting - Germany

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