Today is go-live day. It’s the beginning point where all the promised benefits from the new ERP help your organization achieve its goals! You’ve planned the implementation, and now you’re ready to go live. All your hard work has lead to this point. No pressure, just another day at the office.
Shortly Before Go-live
Here are some steps to help you prepare for a new ERP solution go-live:
Step 1: Ensure all your planned testing is completed with green lights. You can slide by with a few yellow lights as long as you have a contingency plan ready.
Step 2: Ensure all your users are fully trained as planned. Your customers and suppliers should be trained too if they use portals to update your systems. These are likely different.
Step 3: Verify all reports and dashboards are ready for use and that links to these tools will be on the right users’ screens when they need information.
Step 4: Check the timing to load your static data from your legacy systems. You have run these processes many times already but go-live is not the time for any problems. If your go-live is scheduled at 7:00 AM and the data load processes take 10 hours and 12 minutes, you must begin those processes before 8:48 PM the evening before the go-live.
Step 5: Run a complete dress rehearsal of the entire go-live process within a few days of your scheduled go-live. Your ERP should look like it is completely ready for your enterprise to use at this time. Run a few complete system tests again. Run your order-to-cash tests where a new order is placed and you purchase materials. Schedule operation, pay your suppliers and collect from your customers. Run some system overload tests again where you process far more business than you expect, just to know your system can handle the stress.
Step 6: Be certain you will have adequate support available on-site well ahead of the go-live schedule and through at least one complete day. Support people should include the entire implementation team. All your super users should be ready to help other users in their departments.
Step 7: Have a contingency plan. There can be problems. There can be delays. Something can break. Some once-in-a-decade situation can arise at exactly the wrong time. Determine in advance what problems can be worked through or around. Be prepared to delay the go-live a short time or postpone the event if necessary. Know what customers and suppliers should be notified and who will make the contact. Verify the legacy systems can be quickly restarted if required.
Shortly After Go-live
Software Path’s latest ERP Software Report indicates that, on average, 37 percent of employees use a company’s ERP system. That’s a significant portion of your workforce. You need them to be able to use the system correctly. Schedule additional user training within the first two weeks. Some users might have tested well after their training but did not completely learn the lessons. Complete the additional training quickly before bad habits set in. Check with users to understand if your initial training missed some lessons that no one considered to be important. Of course, some users might have been recently hired or promoted and may have missed the initial training.
There is psychology involved in mass organizational change. Identify users who show stress and be prepared to hold their hands or otherwise support them to accept the changes. Be prepared, too, to replace users who cannot accept the changes.