Running ERP Systems in Parallel

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In this article, we're looking at the world of ERP systems and the age-old question: should you run your ERP system in parallel?

Imagine this: you're a manufacturing company amid an ERP system upgrade. While it can be exciting when you’re thinking about a shiny new system, the unknown can be scary. What if the new system isn't as flawless as it seems on paper? What if the transition isn’t as seamless and something goes wrong? These concerns are precisely why many manufacturers consider running their old and new ERP systems side by side, creating a safety net for any kind of emergency.

Picture this: you've invested significant time, money, and effort into implementing your shiny new ERP system. However, lingering doubts and lack of trust in its functionality can creep in. It's like test-driving a new car—before committing to the purchase, you want to ensure it's reliable, efficient, and meets all your needs. Running in parallel gives you the opportunity to test the new system thoroughly, providing peace of mind before fully embracing it.

Now, let's compare the "before" and "after" scenarios. Validating the setup and functionality of the new ERP system is crucial. By running both systems simultaneously, you can meticulously compare how they handle different business processes, identify any discrepancies, and ensure a smooth transition. However, it's important to acknowledge the challenges and risks associated with running parallel systems—after all, we want to avoid creating unnecessary headaches.

Here's where the psychological factor comes into play. Running in parallel can provide a sense of security and comfort. It's like having a backup parachute when skydiving—just in case. Trusting the expertise of your ERP team is essential, but having a fallback option during the transition period can alleviate anxiety and allow for a gradual adjustment.

Of course, no decision is without its drawbacks. Running in parallel can lead to errors and discrepancies between the two systems, making data reconciliation a challenging endeavor. Additionally, managing parallel systems requires increased workload and time investment.

Want to learn more about running ERP in parallel? Watch this video!

Potential Issues and Drawbacks of Running in Parallel

Running your new and old ERP systems in parallel may seem like the smart solution, but it's important to be aware of the potential issues and drawbacks that can show up. Let's take a closer look at these challenges to help you make an informed decision.

A. Errors and Discrepancies

One of the main concerns when running parallel systems is the increased likelihood of errors occurring in both the old and new systems. Despite rigorous testing and preparation, inconsistencies can still arise, leading to discrepancies in data and processes. Reconciling information between the two systems can be an overwhelming task, requiring attention to detail and thorough data validation. It's crucial to have a well-defined plan for resolving discrepancies swiftly to avoid confusion and ensure data integrity.

B. Increased Workload and Time Investment

Running parallel systems comes with a significant increase in workload and time investment. Managing two separate systems simultaneously means double the effort in terms of data entry, maintenance, and system monitoring. This can place additional strain on your IT and operational teams, requiring them to allocate resources for running and synchronizing parallel systems effectively. Moreover, as time goes on, the workload may become more difficult, impacting productivity, and potentially leading to delays in other business operations.

C. Lack of System Adoption and Engagement

Another drawback to consider is the impact on system adoption and user engagement. Running in parallel does not guarantee accelerated adoption of the new system. In fact, it can create a sense of dependency on the old system, leading to resistance to change from users. Employees may be hesitant to fully embrace the new system or may default to their familiar processes, hindering the successful implementation and utilization of the new ERP system. It's essential to assess the potential effect on user engagement and provide adequate training and support to promote a smooth transition and encourage active participation in the new system.

Alternative Approach: Running Pilot Samples

If you're concerned about the potential issues and drawbacks of running your new and old ERP systems in parallel, there is an alternative approach worth considering: running pilot samples. This method offers a more focused and efficient way to evaluate the new system without the need for a full parallel run. Let's explore this alternative in more detail.

A. Understanding the Pilot Concept

Running pilot samples involves selecting a limited number of representative order types or processes to test in the new ERP system. Rather than running both systems simultaneously for all operations, you concentrate on specific scenarios that encompass the critical aspects of your business processes. This targeted approach streamlines the testing process and reduces redundancy, allowing you to assess the new system's performance more efficiently.

B. Selecting Representative Order Types and Processes

To conduct a successful pilot, it's essential to choose a range of representative order types and processes that cover different business scenarios. This ensures that the new ERP system is tested thoroughly and can handle the complexity of your operations.

For example, if you're a manufacturing company, you may want to include sample orders for various product types, different production lines, and diverse customer requirements. By testing these representative scenarios, you can evaluate how well the new system handles different business situations, identifies potential bottlenecks, and ensures accurate data processing.

Evaluating and Validating Sample Results

The key to running pilot samples effectively is evaluating and validating the results against the original data. Compare the outcomes of the pilot sample runs with the existing system's performance to gauge the accuracy, efficiency, and overall effectiveness of the new ERP system.

If the pilot results align with expectations and demonstrate satisfactory performance, you can gain confidence in the new system's capabilities. At this point, you can transition to the new ERP system with a higher level of assurance, knowing that it has been thoroughly tested and validated in critical areas of your business.

By adopting the pilot approach, you can mitigate the potential drawbacks of running in parallel, such as errors, increased workload, and lack of system adoption. This targeted testing method allows for a more focused evaluation of the new system, reduces the impact on operational resources, and promotes user engagement and adoption.

Closing Thoughts

At Sabre Limited, we are experts in manufacturing. We stand among the best manufacturing ERP implementation partners across North America. What sets us apart from our competitors is that we use fixed fees instead of time and material billing and we always put the customer first. 

Our areas of expertise include:

Be sure to contact us if you'd like to learn more about manufacturing in Business Central.

If you're interested in learning more about what Sabre Limited can offer, we've been dedicated to helping small to medium-sized manufacturers learn and adopt Business Central. Reach out, and let's explore how we can contribute to the success of your manufacturing journey. Contact us at info@sabrelimited.com or call (519) 585-7524. We look forward to hearing from you.

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