5 Phase ERP Implementation Process
Once the support staff are fully trained and the final risk analysis and readiness assessment gives the green light, the enterprise is ready for the ERP software go-live event. Below are a few key recommendations to facilitate an anti-climatic cut-over experience.
- The go-live implementation event is an ideal time to have extra support resources on the floor. When the go-live software event takes place, your full project team, including the executive sponsors, should be walking the offices and shadowing the user communities in order to project confidence and be immediately available for user requests or the likely software irregularities that are sure to arise. Be certain to communicate with the help desk staff periodically throughout the early days of the go-live.
- It's generally a very good idea to have additional consultants from your software vendor or third party consulting firm on hand. On site trained and confident staff which stand over the shoulders of users at go-live is a worthwhile investment for most organizations.
- When users have frustrations, issues, questions or problems, resist the temptation to just supply them with quick answers and instead show them the help resources that have been created to aid them now and after the consultants are long gone. This will both supply the user an on-demand information resource as well as verify that the help content is accurate and complete.
- For many of the users averse to or threatened by change, their greatest reluctance of the new ERP software system will occur on the first production day. It is critical that the change management plan include findings discovered from throughout the implementation period and stand ready for the inevitable user adoption challenges. Succeeding in the early days following the go-live event sets the stage to win the long-term implementation. Losing the early days sets the stage for a long uphill battle.
As with many types of technical projects, advanced planning and preparation are keys to success. There is a clear correlation between comprehensive system pilot testing and go-live success. The more the ERP software system pilot is tested, the more smooth the go-live event will be. After the first few days of the go-live period, the ERP or accounting system will have largely stabilized, the users will have achieved an increased confidence and the project team will hold a preliminary exit conference to bring closure to the Go-Live phase.