How to phase out your legacy ERP in four steps

It is inevitable. Your team and your whole enterprise got your new, improved ERP implemented but there will be someone who insists on using the old system anyway as it was good enough yesterday and is better than learning something new.

Encourage them to make the switch by phasing out your legacy ERP. Here’s how:

1. Be really, really sure you have captured all the ways people used the legacy ERP

People have developed many ways to use your legacy ERP. Some are hidden and only a few are aware of these innovations, so this takes a lot of diligence. Ask every user - not just managers and executives - what information they use and how they use it and be certain the same information and decision-making tools are easily available in the new ERP. Then test and retest and make changes until everyone is satisfied.

Now test the ERP again, as in fixing one problem you may have affected a solution another user had already approved of. If you cannot capture the information some users wanted, find a workaround that satisfies them. If people can’t get the information they used yesterday, you might never phase the old ERP out completely.

Recommended reading: implement your new ERP successfully with our 11 steps to ERP implementation success.

2. Train users promptly

Develop training processes so that all users are competent in basic navigation and have user accounts with passwords. Provide training to each group that is specific to their jobs. Use your superusers who already have some competence in the new ERP as trainers. This will help them understand the system even better, and peer to peer training can be very effective. Provide all users with training and exposure to how the users before and after them in the workflow use the ERP. Develop ongoing training tools using all appropriate media. Some can use a text document and others will prefer a video. Make them both available. There will be new users and job transfers starting tomorrow and those users will need training in their new roles.

3. Close the legacy ERP to any new transactions

At your go-live moment, prevent anyone from accidentally adding a new order or other transaction or document in your legacy ERP by closing it. Force them to use the new system, but be prepared to help. When some emergency arises, all of your excellent training can be quickly forgotten, so be prepared to visit that user at their desk or video conference them to ensure they can complete their work.

At the same time, keep the legacy system available to look up past transactions. They might only be an example to follow, but many transactions are a part of a series of transactions by different users, and they will need to know what has already been done to continue that series. Steadily migrate this data to your new system whilst keeping it accessible.

4. Over time, make your legacy ERP less available

Keep watch on how often users look at the legacy ERP. Those lookups will become less and less frequent and after a suitable amount of time passes, remove the legacy ERP from common menus until eventually a user needs to request specific access to that system. It will take a couple of fiscal year closings before the system can be completely archived.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller

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