Congratulations! The ERP system you spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars on over the last twelve months is now live. If the proper implementation approach and project management methodology was applied, then this arduous task was completed on time and on budget.
So it’s smooth sailing from here, right? Unfortunately not.
There are a number of post-go-live challenges inherent in releasing a new ERP system, which will quickly derail the system’s launch if not addressed. The most common challenges are: project team burnout, limited end-user knowledge of the system, enforcing the data governance plan, and handling the myriad questions from end users.
Your organization can carry the successful implementation forward by following these steps:
1. Recognize and reward effort. The best employees from each department across the organization have spent nights and weekends building, testing and priming the system for go-live. The final weeks leading up to go-live can be the most challenging, and this same group will be heavily relied on to lead and support the organization during the first few months post-implementation.
Recognize the real, negative consequences of employee burnout and work to prevent its impact by:
- Understanding the workload required to complete the tasks assigned to each individual.
- Identifying supplemental resources early on.
- Creating a clearly defined incentive plan before the project kicks off.
- Rewarding each team member accordingly. Additional vacation days can be as valuable as cash or equity.
2. Keep training. User acceptance is a predictable challenge. Help users understand why and how the system operates to improve acceptance rates. Yes, there were a number of training sessions conducted before go-live, but those sessions alone will not suffice to prepare end users for day-to-day system tasks. More often than not, end users find training sessions held three to four weeks (a complete business process cycle) after go-live the most beneficial.
Post-go-live training sessions with participant-driven agendas are the most effective. This allows the trainer to focus on addressing the process steps and system functionality the user group is most concerned with. This approach will also increase attendance, as users will feel a sense of control over the utility of the training session.
3. Set up governance. Eight or nine months have likely passed since the process owners came together for design sessions and agreed to improve process efficiency and data quality through cross-functional collaboration. In reality, that cooperation will not be so easy to maintain once the system is live—a governance model for managing process changes must be in place.
However, the governance model should not be convoluted or overbearing. Create standard forms and workflows to approve proposed changes (e.g. new account, account structure change, new vendor, etc.) to help manage these requests. Ensure that proper security is applied and maintained to help eliminate rogue changes.
4. Create an issue resolution process. Regardless of how thorough the test plans or how diligent the testers, issues with arise post go-live. You must be prepared to manage and address them. The majority will be quick fixes, but a handful will impact closing the books or paying a vendor.
Establish a process to prioritize, resolve and communicate post go-live issues. Provide users with an easy way to submit issues and keep them in the loop as technical changes are made. Managing this proves well prevents users from working outside of the system or falling back into old routines.
Trenegy helps companies successfully manage ERP implementations 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.