ACC IMPLEMENTATION: GO-LIVE

Step 6 of the ACC Software Solutions ERP Implementation Process: ERP Go-Live

There’s no turning back now, you’re ready for ERP go-live! With the right expertise and implementation, there are numerous ways that you can maximize the benefits your ERP system has to offer.

But don’t jump in just yet, there are several ways that your go-live can go wrong. Here are some go-live tips and challenges you need to address during the sixth step of your ERP project with ACC Software Solutions:

 

What is ERP Go-Live?

The simple definition of ‘go-live’ refers to something that becomes available. While used as a term for launching new software within businesses, it’s most common in ERP, CRM, logistics, or marketing systems. In terms of your ERP system, it’s the time when your solution becomes officially active, from the testing environment to production.

While the actual go-live is a transparent step, whether it’s a success or failure is another story, and depends on multiple things from project planning to testing to the right leadership – and a lot more. Unfortunately, companies have been known to lose millions in failed implementations. Clearly, it’s essential to be in complete control before and after your system goes live.

 

How to Prepare for your ERP Go-Live Phase:

Plan for the Unknown. The saying is: hope for the best but prepare for the worst. During this situation, you must think of all potential challenges and risks, and plan outcomes for each.

Understand your Risks. There are unavoidable risks associated with every project, and while testing your system will help minimize them, it’s not guaranteed that you won’t run in to any problems.

You can often determine the likelihood of a smooth implementation based upon the involvement of the end-users, especially during the testing phase. The testing phase is key to unlocking your success. It ensures end-users are able to use the software effectively to alleviate potential risks and challenges. This can be done through training in strategic areas during the implementation process to guarantee a successful go live.

Set Realistic Expectations, Goals, and Milestones. This is a factor that is commonly overlooked. Set realistic expectations about your project, don’t just cross your fingers and hope all goes well. Your goals and expectations will help indicate potential issues.

A primary example is perhaps someone on the implementation team is not reaching specific milestones or another is completely disorganized. This is your warning that something is wrong and needs to be fixed right away.

Don’t be afraid to Delay your Project. With your realistic expectations, goals, and milestones in mind, it’s important to remember that the timeline of ERP projects often need to be altered. The reality is, it’s always better to better to postpone than to go-live with issues that could have been solved with just a little more time.

At the end of the day, your ERP is going to facilitate your business processes, so delaying your project by a few weeks will help ensure a successful go-live.

Emphasize your Organizational Change Management Plan & Acknowledge Employees. Moving forward with an ERP project will be time consuming for everyone. Many will feel excited for this change, while others will be uncertain about the new project. Be sure to create an in-depth organizational change management plan and stick to it!

Provide your staff with incentives or benefits to help them relax during the project and acknowledge their commitment and contributions to the project. Remember, your employees work hard during a software implementation. They usually come in early, stay late, put in time on the weekends – while still doing their day job. Don’t forget, teamwork makes the ERP dream work.

Trust your Intuition. Another important thing to know about these types of projects is that all indications for a bad go-live happen early. ERP implementation fails don’t just happen without warning. If you begin seeing problems, trust your gut and do something about it. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Create a Go-Live Check List. Having a go-live checklist is vital to your success, and yet it’s another one of the most overlooked factors in a project. Despite what many believe, your go-live check list is not created by your implementation partner. While they may have their own checklist, you should create your own. Include a list of action items such as:

    • Basic navigation tutorials to show employees how to log into the new system, do simple steps, etc. These can be laminated hard copy documents or virtual documents, either way they should be simple and easy to understand.
    • A schedule of stop dates for the old system showing exactly when the new system will be online and when the old one will no longer be active. This could be one date or a series of dates if you are rolling out the new system in segments. It should start at least one to two weeks out from the stop date.
    • Tasks to be done before the old system is turned off, such as cutting checks to help make AP simpler after the go-live. You can also list out when you will let customers and vendors know about the update and how this will affect their interactions with your site, including any new links they will need.
    • A timeline of all tasks, including testing and training, as well as vital integrations and data migration. Be sure that important tasks such as data transfers to your bank and other integrations are set up before shutting down your old system.

A Bad Go-Live can turn into a Success. Some projects don’t have the luxury of preparation and testing because their staff is simply too busy. While this leads to a complicated and complex go-live, project success is still possible. If you know extensive testing isn’t an option, be sure to have an improvement plan in place for anything that might go wrong. If people can’t test beforehand, you will essentially turn the go-live into the testing phase. This is not the most ideal go live situation, but if you are prepared for it and have staff ready to do fixes, it can work.

Create a Post-Implementation Plan. Post implementation excitement is a real thing. However, your ERP roadmap isn’t finished quite yet. Your end-users should be confident to operate your new ERP solution, and providing high-quality, effective, post go-live support and training is crucial to the overall ERP success. Your organization can earn long-term success from the ERP implementation if you help end-users climb the learning curve with timely, robust support and comprehensive maintenance and support plans for the future.

 

There’s nothing worse than putting time, money, and effort into an unsuccessful go-live. The ACC Software Solutions Team believes in proper preparation and planning to lessen the risks and facilitate the transition to a new ERP system. Contact us here at ACC Software Solutions for your next ERP implementation.

 


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