A recent article from consulting firm Panorama with the title noted above makes a good point about companies readiness to “go live” on a new ERP system implementation. We’d like to reprise and comment them today…
- Is the new ERP software aligned with the business? It’s one to say your software “works.” It’s another thing to say it works for your business. Technical issues can be worked on and pounded away during implementation. Ensuring that your software is aligned with your processes, your people and the way you do business is a whole other matter. That takes strategic planning, discussions and consideration. Most software today is robust and flexible enough to address most of your needs. In some (though notably not all) cases, that software may even have the added benefit of being modifiable or customizable. That makes it critical to define how it will be fit into your
- Are our employees completely trained on new business processes, expectations and the new ERP software? All too often, training becomes the ugly stepchild of ERP implementations. Companies seem (wrongly, we’ve learned) that this is the place to cut costs and shrink the budget. Too often, companies try to leverage the ‘boilerplate’ financials training that accompanies most software via online sources. But as in our first point, this fails to address the uniqueness of your own needs and company. Moreover, it short-changes the needs of key operating staff (your people!) and often inhibits them from doing their jobs well – not to mention causing them unnecessary frustration. As Panorama nicely summarizes: “If you haven’t invested the time in creating custom training as part of your organizational change management plan, then you probably aren’t ready for go-live.”
- Are we at risk of a “Hail Mary” go-live? Nothing in business is trickier or more scary than “flipping the switch” on a new system. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The risk is real: going live prematurely could risk untold damage in terms of ability to ship, track, bill or serve our customers. Sometimes, the smartest decision is to delay the Go Live. Even as the toll rises and executive patience wears thin, it’s critical to listen when someone says they think we need to pull the cord and bring this thing to a halt. Of course, if you’ve properly tested, first by your implementers/consultants, then by your super-users, and finally by actual users, you’ll feel a lot safer. Conference room pilots – executed in two or three iterative stages – are an excellent way to avoid unexpected Go Live glitches. Trial runs utilizing practice data and test companies (also a great way to test future modifications prior to bringing them live) all help in the process. If your consultants are on top of their game, they should know this and manage your project accordingly. And if they are not, well, then it’s up to you.