To help you ensure your ERP go-live is successful, here are some tips and best practices to follow.
You’ve chosen your vendor, vetted ERP partners, and gone through your ERP implementation. Now it’s time to finally go live with your selected solution – and this is probably the most exciting yet fraught time of the entire process.
Simply put, an ERP go-live is when your selected software goes live, from the test environment to production. This is when you launch your new software so that it’s ready to be used within your business – where your employees start processing transactions in the new system. Emotions often run high during this phase. As your company has invested a lot of time and money in the ERP implementation, it’s imperative that your go-live goes as smoothly as possible.
While issues may crop up during the go-live phase, you can help mitigate them through proper preparation and planning. We’ve rounded up some tips and best practices to help you execute a successful ERP go-live.
1. Plan from the onset
The first tip is to create a plan that outlines steps, duties, and timelines. Leave some space in your timeline to account for potential delays and identify any issue that must be addressed before you move forward with your go-live. During the testing phase, this plan will help you prioritize issues and gauge which ones will have a major impact on the business and which ones can be addressed later. Indeed, there might be some issues to fix after going live. The key here is to define realistic expectations about what needs to be fixed before going live.
2. Understand the risks
Regardless of how many times you have tested a system, there are risks involved in any project. You can often determine the likelihood of a successful implementation based on the involvement of the users during the user acceptance testing (UAT). When many people are involved in UAT, there is a good chance of a successful go-live. However, if there are fewer people involved, there are chances of your go-live becoming a testing phase. Consider every possible scenario of what could go wrong and connect with your team to get their views. Then, create a comprehensive list of potential risks and have a plan ready for mitigating all of them as they arise.
3. Have a robust training plan
One of the major mistakes companies make while implementing an ERP system is not putting enough effort or time into proper staff training. You should consider recruiting a team of professionals to provide the necessary ERP employee training. Train users on how to use the system – make them understand how to log in, use the UI, and perform their roles and responsibilities. Invest in good training to eliminate stresses and fears often experienced in going live. Since it is a company-wide solution, you must train your employees for each function, ensuring capabilities, best practices, and business value is understood.
4. Have your best resources in place
Another tip to help you ensure your go-live is as streamlined as it can be is to get your best resources lined up before the big day. While you prepare for this, there is no guarantee that problems will not occur once the new software is live. But when you have resources ready to deal with any kind of issue in real-time, there will not be much of a problem. Whenever a problem occurs, it is good to have competent people available to jump right in and start fixing it.
5. Ensure data migration is conducted carefully
Data migration is vital for successful ERP implementation because, if done right, it will help you effectively streamline your processes, and if done wrong, it could take a long time to fix. But before migrating all of your data into your new ERP system, you should filter out everything that you find obsolete or unnecessary. The goal of transitioning to an ERP system is to clean up and rationalize the company’s data and transfer only the most crucial information so that you can achieve efficiency and data integrity. So, it is worth making a clear plan to do so. Just comb through legacy data with care, remove old customer accounts, and look for data inaccuracies to make the new system clean and accurate.
6. Test, test, test
Once your chosen ERP solution is configured, it is important to move into the testing stage to ensure everything works as intended. Testing is a major part of the ERP implementation process since it gives a clear insight into the system performance and ensures streamlined transition. It is highly advised not to go live before performing proper system and user acceptance testing. You should work through all processes and workflows using real data to identify gaps and issues in advance. Even minor issues can be time-consuming and costly to fix if you fail to catch them until after go-live. So, before going live, you should test the system thoroughly again and again. Invest considerable time doing this so you can find issues ahead of time.
7. Do a trial run
To make the ERP go-live phase as effortless as possible, do a trial run and make your staff go through every possible scenario to see what issues might occur. Also, you can have your developers run through all ways, which might fix any issues if they occur. In addition, you can practice migrating your data and checking if it is correct. It is important to have a defined outline of the cut-off dates for transactions migrated from the former system, what must be manually entered in the new system, and who is responsible for each step. Once everything has been done, your go-live should be successful. Ideally, this rehearsal is performed many days before go-live to allow some time for adjustments and improvements, if necessary.
8. Keep communication lines open
Project teams on both sides (client and software partner) can be geographically disparate during go-lives. So, communicating status updates and issues quickly is essential to keep everything moving on pace. Ensure regular communication. Choose a reliable and readily accessible communication platform to ensure all project team members are on the same page. Also, include your ERP partner in your communication plan so that everyone involved is informed and up-to-date.
9. Create a go-live checklist
A detailed checklist is vital for a successful ERP go-live. This includes all the actions you need to perform and the items you need for the go-live to work. Having a go-live checklist helps keep the entire team organized. Below are a few things to add to your go-live checklist:
Training aids or materials for end-users to help them use the new system. They should be given virtual or hardcopy documents which are simple and easy to understand.
A timeline of all tasks, including testing, training, data cleaning and migration, and vital integrations.
A schedule of stop dates for using the old system.
The tasks to complete before turning off the old system.
A clear definition of roles and responsibilities during go-live.
Legacy system backup before migration.
Documentation defining major processes and keynotes.
Notifications to providers and customers about your cutover data and how it impacts their interactions with you.
You have already spent a significant amount of money, time, and energy in getting your system ready for your company. But this isn’t the end yet; you still have to test, train, and plan your transition, which is time-consuming. If you follow these tips, it will improve productivity, collaboration, and communication within your company and provide your business with many growth opportunities. So, invest time in following these tips to ensure a smoother ERP go-live for your organization.