Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Most companies once they make the decision to deploy a new ERP system, and finalize the deal with the vendor and/or partner that will perform the deployment, the hype all of sudden drops down. The expectations become blurred. Why? From experience I have noticed time and time again that the expectations somehow fall on the implementer to do everything, to be the fall guy for all decisions, all pitfalls, and specifically all changes occurring within the company; from new business processes, new reporting concepts, speed of information dissemination to management, even the visibility to the unknown. Unfortunately this turns the ‘Go-Live’ date or the ‘Switchover’ into a nightmare instead of a celebration.
Good ERP vendors even talk about it openly. They call it ‘The DIP’. This is the period which starts immediately on the go-live date and can last from 6-12 months, all depending on how management were ready to tackle the change, and benefit from it.
But why should it be the norm? Why should anyone accept it as business as usual? To be honest, you cannot avoid it 100%, but you can do things to reduce it to the minimum in order to start quickly in reaping the rewards of this investment. Following are some things you can do:
1. Prepare the company prior to the start of the project. You must create a champions team that will be responsible with the authority to make decisions on behalf of the company. Conduct internal focused workshops to discuss the project and make decisions regarding the change and the impact to the business process and the operation at large. This preparation should start prior to the project, maybe even 3 months before signing.
2. Establish teams from each department or branch to start making decisions and taking over from day one. Yes, day one. Nobody knows the company and its inner workings like you or your teams do. Do not rely on the implementor. The implementor has limited tasks at hand; They do analysis, deployment and possibly data migration, period. Once they are done, you are fully responsible to make it work, not them. Therefore, it is in your power to make it painful or fantastic, or anything in between.
3. Once the go-live date has been established, create the internal multi-level support structure. This must include departmental and company level support team. Further, the support team must be knowledgeable with business process as well as the new system with more details than others.
In short, the switchover starts before the project is signed and lasts well into the first year of operation. Why? Because it is your company, your system, your operation, and your P/L. So take it seriously. Don’t wait and see.