CONCORD, N. H. -- Meet Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Connelly, New Hampshire Army National Guard Systems Integration Branch (SIB) Chief, who is recognized as an Integrated Personnel and Pay System -- Army (IPPS-A) Best of the Best Soldier for leading the team for New Hampshire successfully through the conversion from the Standard Installation and Division Personnel Reporting System (SIDPERS) to IPPS-A.

Connelly has been the NHARNG's SIB Chief for three years. He said a small steps approach to the migration is what he and his team decided would yield the best results.

"We worked on identifying data points that come into IPPS-A, and focusing on those, then identifying the other data points and keeping them outside of IPPS-A," said Connelly. "We had quarterly meetings with each command on base to talk about the status of IPPS-A, and what we were trying to do to alleviate issues other people were having."

Connelly said the biggest challenge he and his team faced was the level of change IPPS-A is bringing to Army Human Resources. IPPS-A is changing the definition of what personnel work in the Army is, which forces Soldiers to change their mindset about the career field. This can present challenges, according to Connelly.

"We're talking about the largest change in the personnel world in 20-plus years in the Guard," said Connelly. "SIDPERS is what Soldiers know and what they've been comfortable with. It's understandable they would be nervous about a change like IPPS-A."

Despite challenges, Connelly said he and his team were able to complete the conversion to IPPS-A with few errors in data transfer. He credits this to their small steps approach.

"Focusing on data and data correctness paid dividends for us and our fielding group," said Connelly.

Now that New Hampshire is live in the system, Connelly says moving forward he is excited for Soldiers because of the stability IPPS-A brings. No longer will states be behind in the version of a system they have, which allows for better customer service, said Connelly.

"It'll be easier to have a reservist working alongside an active-duty Soldier because neither have to worry about how their pay is being handled," said Connelly. "With IPPS-A, we're all on the same platform."

Along with his enthusiasm, Connelly wants Soldiers and HR professionals to stay patient when it comes to learning and adjusting to the system.

"We want civilians and Soldiers who are new to HR right now to understand we're all new to IPPS-A," said Connelly. "No one has any more knowledge about the system than the rest of us, so be patient in learning the system."