Why your ERP go-live failed
There are numerous reasons that ERP go-live efforts fail. Sometimes it’s just a matter of poor planning, budgetary issues emerge, or some other operational issue crops up that causes a new system to fail its initial reality test.
Nevertheless, and regardless of the number of reasons, there are at least several major lessons-learned alerts that ERP managers should be mindful of. To wit:
Inability to execute pre-launch testing
As the old saying goes, ‘measure twice; cut once,’ and when it comes to testing prior to an ERP launch, this axiom is particularly important to remember. Testing is a chance to identify and refine: any pre-launch weaknesses whether is has to do with establishing internal business rules, policies, or custom processes. You can also test the efficacy of your datastore, or simply run the ERP full out in order to see how the system behaves under stress. Nevertheless, this value should never be half-baked, otherwise the cake you’re baking will fall and you’ll end up with frosting in all the wrong places.
Lack of senior management stage acknowledgements
This error can cause all kinds of ripples throughout an enterprise, but mostly ends up in one or more IT operators finding his/her way to the door. There is no excuse for failing to apprise senior management on the status of an ERP system’s operational evolution; particularly as administrative types usually don’t want to spend money in the first place, unless they need to. The only prudent thing to do is to keep higher-ups in the loop from soup to nuts; and if you don’t, you’re just putting a noose around your neck that they’ll be happy to yank on if your work goes south.
Lack of final senior management sign-offs
The only thing worse than failing to keep senior managers on-side during pre-launch stand-ups is to fail to get the nod when you’re ready to go. Bear in mind that administrative types trusted you enough to cut the check you’re playing with, so at minimum you owe them the courtesy of involving them at the moment that the switch is flipped. To do otherwise will risk not only your reputation but your livelihood as well, so keep them in the loop and let them nod affirmatively when the time comes.
Malformed launch scheduling
This failure really relates to poor planning throughout but when the rubber hits the road, bad scheduling usually creates more go-live disasters than many other issues. Consequently, ensure that you review your go-live planning carefully, and then review it regularly as the overall setup process evolves so you can adjust your project schedule accordingly.
Failure to complete proper workforce training programs
Regardless of how smart you new system may be, if your enterprise’s workforce isn’t ready for prime time, it’s likely that the system won’t be either. People make systems operate efficiently - not the inverse. So if you short-cut workforce training for your ERP, you’re just asking for trouble.
Miscalculating necessary launch resources
Many IT folks believe that the fewer resources involved the better go-live processes go. To a point, however, this isn’t true, and you should plan for and apply as many resources as possible when it comes to launching a new system. Unfortunately, my original assertion is much more the rule than the exception, which is why, more than 50% of all ERP systems either fail out of the box or shortly after launch.
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