Issue resolution is a critical aspect of ERP go-live success. When an employee using a new system finds a technical glitch or an error in the process, there must be a way to address and resolve it quickly and efficiently. The first week of go-live sets a precedent for the rest of the company. If issues are not addressed promptly and resolved accurately, end users will work around the system. Work-arounds make it difficult to ensure employees follow new and more efficient processes, eliminating one of the key benefits of a new ERP.
Successful companies assemble an issue resolution team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities and a resolution process to address immediate post-go-live activities. The following steps are critical to address and resolve problems in a timely manner.
Create an issue resolution process. An issue resolution strategy should be developed in advance of an ERP implementation go-live date.
- Create a way for all issues to be funneled and documented in one common location. The issue resolution team should add every incoming issue to an online database, document the problem and send the issue to the person who can address it technically.
- Set up multiple ways for users to communicate issues to the resolution team. A phone number and email address are two requisite platforms for issue submission. Additionally, missed calls and voicemails can be recorded and forwarded to the database through an email attachment.
- Identify the point person, or person the issue is assigned to, for different types of problems. It is important that the issue resolution team conduct practice runs to test the process and become familiar with potential types of issues. In most instances, there will be one point person assigned to each department, but there will be circumstances that require multiple departments to work together.
- Include the issue submission process plan and contact information (email address, phone number, etc.) in the all go-live communication.
Systematize Communication. Communication among all parties involved in an ERP implementation is critical for a successful issue resolution process. The most critical parties include: the end user identifying the issue, the point person working to resolve it, and the team receiving and tracking the issues. The issue resolution team should contact the issue identifier when the issue is submitted, resolved and ready for testing.
As issues filter through the resolution process, take note of specific trends in issues submitted in order to gather future requirements for process improvements. Patterns need to be identified by issue type, which can lead to resolving several issues with one solution. It is critical to verify with the end user that the issue was in fact resolved. End users will be more responsive and patient when kept in the communication loop.
Plan for technical support. Bring the ERP vendors on-site to aid the project team and provide technical support. These technical experts are critical when specific situations arise that weren’t covered in-depth during training. The specialists can quickly assess and resolve complex issues. Typically, ERP vendors will support the go-live effort for a month, and in most cases this is only via phone. Instead, keep the additional help on-site for at least a month and again during major financial closing dates, for example, month-, quarter-, and year-end closing. This will ease the end user through the day-to-day and closing process transition.
The initial high pressure of an ERP implementation will dwindle after a couple of weeks, and issues progressively tend to fall through the cracks. In most instances, the project team will transition back to their permanent roles after the initial go-live date. Be sure not to lose sight of the issue resolution process. Continue to communicate and follow up with technical experts.
Trenegy helps companies successfully manage ERP implementations using a proprietary project management methodology all the way through go-live support. We help our clients get value of out their new system quickly and relatively painlessly. Read how to properly prepare an E&P company for implementation in our recent publication: E&P Company Systems: 4 ERP Implementation Land Mines to Avoid.