Have you recently purchased a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution only to balk at the amount of time and preparation required to get it set up and implemented? If so, you are not alone. A lot of work and planning goes into ERP software implementations, and it takes a lot of committed effort to carry out a successful go-live. However, before you can even begin preparing for the software implementation itself, you must do substantial research on a variety of ERP solutions, present your findings to your ERP selection team, narrow your choices down to a few key players, and select a system that uniquely meets your company’s specific needs for ERP.
And that’s just the selection process.
ERP implementations can be lengthy and challenging, to say the least. The process requires the involvement of key stakeholders, employee training on the new software, and multiple hardware and software tests. With so much going on and so many tasks to check off the list, it can be easy to miss critical aspects of the process. Here’s a few of our well-seasoned tips to ensure that your go-live goes off without a hitch.
Preparing for Launch – 4 “Pre-Implementation” Essentials
- Communication is essential. The most important tip we can give you? Communicate, communicate, communicate. And if you think you are over communicating with your team, communicate some more. Missing important details and deadlines can delay your go-live date and cause a whole gamut of issues further down the road. Make sure your team is aware of the timeline and go-live date, their role during the implementation (and on go-live), and what they can expect to occur on that day.
- Test the ERP system – multiples times. While this may seem obvious, you need to make sure the ERP software actually works before you try to go-live with your new solution. Schedule various testing dates in the days and weeks leading to your go-live date. While you certainly cannot identify every bug in the system beforehand, you can save your IT department some major headaches and prevent as many disruptions in operations as possible.
- Delay launch when needed. If severe issues appear during the ERP testing process, it would be wise to delay software launch until you can get the issues worked out of the system. Assuming that you will have enough time to address the issues and find a fix in time for your original go-live date is not only foolish but dangerous. Take our advice – a few delays to work out the kinks will not hinder your implementation, it will save it.
- Set up and test your hardware before the launch. This may be another obvious tip, but you’d be surprised at the number of businesses that fail to install their hardware until the go-live date. Just like the software, the hardware you will be using the software on must be thoroughly tested by itself AND with the software running.
Take-Off: A Day-of Checklist for ERP Success
The big day is here! You’ve successfully tested the software, worked out the kinks (at least the ones you have found), ensured the hardware is functioning correctly, and trained your employees well. Now it’s time to go-live with the new ERP system. Here is a rough checklist to help you move throughout the day and ensure that everyone is in their place:
- The implementation team and company executives should roam the office and shop floor (if applicable) on Day One to answer any questions and see how the employees are doing.
- Make sure help is readily available the first few days of go-live (this includes your IT team or your ERP software consultant).
- Direct employees to the software manual and training guide if they get confused or have additional questions. That way, they can learn about the system without having to rely on your ERP vendor or consultants.
- Make sure all employees have access to the software and hardware needed.
Stay tuned for more ERP software implementation and go-live tips. If you haven’t yet chosen an ERP solution, download our whitepaper, “The Five Point Plan to ERP Selection Success.” This guide will help you choose the right ERP solution for your company and help you start the ERP implementation process on the right foot.