After many months of meticulous planning, building and testing you may come to a point where you think to yourself, “We’re ready for ERP go-live!”
While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of completing major milestones, it’s important to be completely prepared before flipping the switch.
2019 ERP Report
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We recommend using an ERP go-live readiness checklist to help you decide whether your company is truly ready for go-live. While the following checklist is not exhaustive, it does cover the technical aspects of go-live readiness:
ERP Go-live Checklist
1. All Test Cases are Executed and Passed
There’s a reason why ERP project plans contain several iterations and types of testing. Unit testing, process testing, systems integration testing and user acceptance testing are all designed to ensure your customizations, configurations and integrations are ready for production. Having a high pass rate on all these tests is a good indicator that you may be ready for go-live.
It’s not just the number of test cases passed that’s important – it’s also the quality and coverage. For unit testing, usually an ERP consultant or developer can create the test cases, but for the other types of tests, test cases should be approved by the business. This ensures that no surprise scenarios come up after end-users get their hands on the new ERP system.
2. There are no Remaining Severity 1 or 2 Bugs Outstanding
If your team decides to wait until all bugs lower than severity 2 are addressed, you’ll never go live. It’s OK if you still have a few lingering bugs out there, as long as they are not severity 1 (showstopper) or severity 2 (high business impact). Even if workarounds are in place to continue executing business processes, leaving a severity 1 or 2 bug in production can create a mess of data.
For example, let’s imagine a severity 2 bug exists for advanced shipping notices (ASN). In this case, a QA tester notices that some ASNs are being rejected and not finding their way into the ERP system. As a result, a workaround is recommended to monitor the queue of rejected ASNs and trigger a resend of the failures.
Even if this workaround allows ASNs to be imported, the real issue could be that the delay in processing these ASNs is causing the financial receipt date to be off by a day or more. At month or quarter end, this could create a mess for the finance team.
That being said, you must have a plan to address any severity 1 or 2 bugs that crop up close to your go-live date. Without a mitigation plan for these types of last-minute bugs, you risk significantly delaying your go-live date.
3. Data Migration and Cutover Activities Have Been Practiced
In theater, a production never dives right into opening night without a few dress rehearsals. These are common practice because they help actors become comfortable with their lines while in costume and full stage lighting. During a dress rehearsal, issues may become apparent, which gives directors the opportunity to address issues while there’s still time.
Practicing ERP data migration and cutover activities on a pre-production environment is like a dress rehearsal. The actors are your project team, the lines are the business processes and the costumes and lighting are the production data and environment.
While practicing data migration, you might find corrupt or duplicate data that, if it had been imported directly into production, would have contaminated the pristine environment.
4. Production Data is Staged and Ready to be Migrated
Data doesn’t always play nice. Even if you’ve practiced the migration from legacy to the new ERP software several times, it’s best not to wait until the night before go-live to perform the actual migration.
We recommend defining a cutoff date and time for when legacy transactions will no longer be considered for migration. Any new transactions past the cutoff date can be migrated over in a separate wave.
5. Your Production Environment is Ready
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many different definitions of “ready” you’ll find amongst a project team.
The best definition of “ready” is: the infrastructure for the production environment is in place and tuned to maximum performance. This means configurations are enabled, users are loaded and security roles are turned on. It also means integration points are defined and checked for responses.
In some cases, “ready” may also entail the purchase and configuration of any required hardware, like printers, scanners, scales, registers or payment readers.
6. The Rollout Strategy is Defined, Scheduled and Communicated
For phased rollouts, the schedule should be communicated to the impacted business units. It should never come as a surprise to users when they can no longer access their legacy tools.
For example, imagine you’re a retailer with a hundred stores across four time zones. The schedule for the first phase of your rollout might look something like this: East Coast stores are delivered new hardware on Saturday night, the hardware is configured and installed on Sunday night and they are live with the new software on Monday morning. Then, after a week in production, feedback is gathered and analyzed before the next phase.
If your East Coast stores are aware of this schedule, they will be more prepared for go-live.
7. The Support Team is Prepared
When incidents come up (and they will), you’ll need a support team equipped with all the necessary resources. This team should have access to ERP experts, business analysts, process specialists and change management champions. This ensures that whatever ticket comes through the help desk can be addressed without scrambling to find the right resource.
The process for creating and managing incoming tickets is also important to define before go-live. You don’t want added stress during post go-live because this is already a busy time.
Are You Ready for Go-live?
In addition to the above checklist, you’ll need a checklist of the people and process aspects of your project. We have seen projects fail even with a fully functioning enterprise system.
If you’re curious how our clients determine the readiness of their people and business processes, give us a call. Our ERP consultants can speak with you about our experience guiding companies through business process reengineering and organizational change management. We understand all the components of go-live success.