In today’s highly competitive markets, well-functioning software systems increasingly make the difference between happy and unhappy customers. Between profit and loss. And eventually even between success and failure. During the implementation process, the transition from your trusty old system to your new ERP/CRM solution is a critical phase. In practice, however, this transition doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Needless to say, misery can result.
Usually the “cut the cord” date is set early in the process. Often long before the implementation starts. Or even before the final choice of the solution and the implementation partner is made. But how can you know so early whether your organization will be ready? And what the processing time requirements from your preferred solution are? Not infrequently, managers’ egos get in the way. After all, someone who lobbied for a particular ‘go-live’ date doesn’t want to lose face when that date shifts. But what’s really important in a situation like that?
Recently, a large health insurance company made national news. Their commissioning of a new system appeared to have caused a number of problems. A direct consequence for policyholders was that their reimbursements were delayed. The usual period of five working days – their unique selling point – is now three months! Forget about a leg up on the competition, it just got amputated. Not to mention customer satisfaction. And year’s end brought lots of canceled policies from angry, dissatisfied customers. Stupid, you say? Rather!
Here’s a few things to consider if you are concerned about making your go live a success:
- Share the draft version of the planning internally, ask for feedback and listen carefully
- Ask existing customers about the challenges and problems around their go live and how they’ve solved that
- Limit the scope of the project
- Divide the project into a number of smaller sub-projects
- Focus on the functionality that you already use in your current system. And save new functionality for a later phase
In short: you’d better be super critical of every possible pitfall before you go live with your new system! Test the recently-learned solution knowledge internally. Check, especially, all the changed business processes. Test converted files. And have an third party perform a general risk analysis. Is something not up to snuff yet? Then keep on with your existing system. After all, you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, right?