ERP go live dates
As with any far-reaching business activity, timing is everything. When it comes to an ERP software implementation and the very real potential for transformational change that the new product may promise, choosing your implementation go-live date may well prove difficult. If you talk to any ERP implementation consultant worth their salt, they’ll tell you that project go-live dates are set for a reason and adhering to them is critical to the successful outcome of an implementation strategy. From the first time you sat down with your implementation partner, you’ll have laid open your corporate soul and established the whys and wherefores and whens for your new ERP investment.
When should your system go live?
And so to those whens… Your ERP implementation partner will have assessed your busiest periods, your accounting periods and financial year end and both the implementation plan and deployment methodology they’ll put into place will take all this into account. It’s important to remember that making the transition to a new ERP system is always going to be a challenging time and demands and objections from departmental heads may well be a matter of course. The go-live date should ultimately be driven by the organisation’s stakeholders, although your ERP partner’s experience of deployments of similar scale and scope will play a pivotal role in setting the most effective project’s go-live date.
Meanwhile, other factors may also be at play. Legacy systems may have reached end of life and therefore support, or a lack of reporting or functionality may force the issue. Budgetary constraints could impede the schedule completely while the desire to spend surplus funds before the end of the financial year could prompt a rush to go-live. In the case of a cyclical business that experiences seasonal peaks and quiet lulls, off-season would naturally be a pertinent time for a roll-out as seen with one of our 15 year old clients in this Q&A. Essentially, software implementation has to happen at a time that’s right for your business.
Should implementation tie in with Financial Year End?
There is a commonly held view that the best time to go live on an ERP implementation is at the start of a new financial year to ensure the fiscal year-end cut-over will lead to all reporting being housed in one system. Indeed, a fixation on this target may even sway an organisation to partner an implementation consultant purely on the basis they’re happy to agree to and accommodate that demand.
However, whilst a period-end can be deemed a suitable cut-over timeframe, quarter-ends and financial year ends are notoriously demanding periods that already require all hands to be on the relevant decks. Adding to the pressure of the finance team at a time when training and learning curves are underway is at best inconsiderate, at worst, a seriously risky business. Better to implement earlier in the period so the new ERP platform will be performing as it should in readiness for the peak periods that will follow. In any event, data can be migrated from legacy systems to the new ERP solution at any time, preferably when staff resources are available and equipped with the requisite system knowledge to ensure the transition will be as smooth as it should be.
Initial planning and project management is key
The fail-safe should always be to talk to an ERP implementation consultant whose comprehensive and sane approach to project management will establish a suitable go-live date at the outset. If you want to partner with a trusted ERP software expert who’ll take you from initial reconnaissance to final roll-out and who will never fail to deliver on a go-live date, contact the TVision team.
For a comprehensive overview of Microsoft ERP solutions please see our Knowledge Leadership article on Which Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution is for me?