Phase II: Post Go-Live Strategies for Transforming Your Business

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Western Computer typically advocates a phased approach to ERP implementation. It’s the later phases—after the initial go-live—that often drive real business transformation.

Phase II: Post Go-Live Strategies
Are you considering Phase II of your implementation?

To customers considering new ERP deployments, Western Computer recommends a phased approach. We’ve found that the “big bang” approach, where all functionality and business requirements are implemented in a single, massive effort is almost always more expensive in the long run. In contrast, a two- or even three-phase approach to ERP minimizes both risk and expense during the initial deployment. But more importantly, a phased rollout can help you better identify the functionality and process improvements. These improvements will drive greater efficiency through the software.

The key lies in prioritizing your business requirements. Separating core processes and mission-critical functionality from the “nice-to-haves.”  Implementing the highest priority capabilities first allows you to get up and running fast on your new ERP. This also allows for minimizing customizations and custom coding that can bog down the implementation and be costly to maintain over time.

When you’re ready to tackle Phase 2, don’t be surprised to find that your priorities have shifted. The concerns they list one month after going live are typically completely different than the list they made a month or more before the initial deployment.

The reason is that the initial ERP implementation will almost certainly change the way your data is structured. It may also affect the way information flows through your organization. As a result, process bottlenecks that existed before the go-live may be eliminated—or shifted to other stages in the process—revealing new efficiencies and opportunities for improvement. By waiting until users are comfortable with the initial change-over, you can make more informed decisions about next steps.

We see this frequently with our Microsoft Dynamics NAV customers, who are concerned about streamlining order entry processes. The typical order entry screen in Dynamics NAV may include many more fields—and take longer to complete—than they’re used to. But it quickly becomes apparent that capturing and validating this data early in the process drives downstream efficiencies across functions as diverse as packing and shipping to auditing and financial close.

Mobility is another example of functionality we often push to later phases. We suggest that our customers allow users across the organization a chance to get comfortable with new processes for purchasing or expense reporting. Then, we can take the time to fine-tune those processes as needed, before rolling them out to smartphones and mobile devices.

Our phased approach is similar to the philosophy of “kaizen,” or continuous improvement, where smaller changes yield big results over time. By applying this approach to your ERP deployment, you can avoid the bloat that threatens so many IT projects and position your organization to benefit from your technology investment over the long term.  Contact us today to get the conversation started. We will help you understand what Phase II approach your company needs to implement to keep your business moving forward.

by Western Computer

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