After many months of meticulous planning and preparation, you and your team are almost ready to press go on your new ERP software system. Before you do this, make sure you check out our 18 tips for ensuring a successful ERP go-live.
- Start preparing for go-live well in advance – ERP implementations are marathons, not sprints. Make sure you start planning for go-live as soon as the signature is dry on the project plan. This will give you plenty of time to work out the practical details of the who, where, when and how.
- Make sure you have a go-live checklist – A comprehensive checklist is vital for a successful go-live. This will include all the actions that you need to accomplish and all the items you need in order for the go-live to work. Sorts of things included on the checklist include:
- Timeline of all the tasks
- A schedule of stop dates for the old system
- Training aids or materials for the end users
- Test, test, test – The only way you are going to know whether the system is set up right and everyone knows what they are doing is to test the system. Then do another trial run. And then test it again. You will need to test whether the system has been set up properly. You will need to check whether the new processes that you and your end-user team have in place actually work. It is vital that you go through every scenario possible to check what the potential issues could be and have a plan on how you are going to deal with them. This includes regular weekly, monthly and even annual tasks. Only once all this testing is done are you ready to go live.
- Know the risks and how to mitigate them – Even if you test the system rigorously, any project will still have risks attached to it. It is therefore very important to keep a register of potential risks and have a plan for mitigating each one of them as they arise.
- Make sure your hardware is set up and working – Cloud-based systems such as Business Central SaaS may not be dependent on premise servers, but it is still important that the other bits of hardware such as desktop computers, laptops, wireless networks and wireless connections are set up properly and working optimally when you go live.
- Don’t be afraid to delay if you have to – Everyone hopes for the best-case scenario: the project goes live and there are no problems. This, however, doesn’t always happen. Last minute issues can arise, the plan for mitigating risks fails or someone who is key to the project is ill on go-live day. If this happens, there is nothing wrong with delaying go-live for a few days, a week or, if you really need to, a month or two. It is much more important to have a system that works and users who are willing and able to use it. But just saying, at TVision we always go live on time with our projects, subject to any requested client delays.
- Data is key – Poor access to and bad data quality are often the main reasons businesses implement new software systems. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you take the time to clean it up before you go-live. Also make sure that during the testing phase you check that you have all the data you need once you go-live, every knows where the data is coming in from and where it is going to within the system.
- Check the timing for loading your data from your legacy system – You need to make sure that you have enough time, prior to go-live, to migrate all the data you will need from your legacy system into the new system before the users go-live.
- Have your best people lined up and ready ahead of time – Having your best people “in the trenches” on that all-important day will be the key to having a successful go-live right from the off.
- Ensure your go-live team is well-trained and well-rested – As well as having your best people, you need to make sure they are “battle-ready”: they have had all the training they need well in advance and that they are well-rested and therefore ready for action on go-live day. A well-trained, well-rested team member will be calm and prepared to deal with any problems or errors that could arise.
- Make sure your users have bought into the system – Rigorous user acceptance testing will not only check that the software is working; it will also check whether the users accept the new system and are happy to work with it. Therefore, make sure you use the UAT period to ensure the users are getting what they need out of the system and that they have all the training and support they require to get a successful start.
- Ensure you have clear channels of communication – During go-lives, the project teams on both sides (client and software partner) can be geographically disparate. This can complicate the communication of status updates and arising issues. A reliable and readily accessible communication platform, such as a dedicated Microsoft Teams channel, will help ensure that all project team members are kept up to date and informed.
- Don’t start using the system until your successful go-live is complete – Teams are often under pressure to use the system before the final confirmation that all pieces of a successful go-live have been completed. It is better to take a moment, check that there aren’t any last minute hurdles and then give the green light.
- Take the time to celebrate – Implementing a new ERP is a major achievement for a business. It is therefore important that you take the time to acknowledge this and celebrate it in some way.
- Reward hard work – Part of celebrating success is rewarding the key team members involved in the project. Obviously, whatever you decide to do needs to be in line with your business’s reward and recognition policies, but make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to let people know how much you value their hard work.
- Spend time with the end users – Now that the system is up and running, make sure you take the time to review that the system is working in the most productive way for the end user. If it isn’t, is that a training issue or a software implementation issue?
- Look out for what needs fixing – Even if you had a successful go-live and users are happy with the system, you will start to identify gaps once users start to use the system and get used to its systems and processes. Start thinking about how processes can be improved and what needs to happen for this to be done. Once you have thought this through, you can make a roadmap for the future.
- Look to automate your processes – One way to improve your processes is to look at ways to automate them. Automating simple, repetitive tasks will allow your team more time to concentrate on the more complex, value-added tasks. Register now for our upcoming webinars on the Procure to Pay process and the PO Approval Process.
How can TVision help you?
TVision is one of the largest and most experienced providers of Business Central and NAV in the UK. If you liked our tips on a successful ERP go-live and want to find out more about Business Central and how TVision can help you implement it successfully, please feel free to contact us to arrange a demo.