ERP Implementation Advice : choosing an ERP implementation phasing strategy

Many of our articles are focused on the importance of choosing the right ERP software and partner. But what is the next important step? It is time now to focus on how you will introduce the ERP system into your company. Whether you are implementing your first ERP system or replacing an old one, this is an important step to a successful project. Your ERP partner will be able to help you decide what is best for your company, but here are some questions you will want to ask yourself that will help you make your choice as well as the pros and cons of the ERP implementation phasing options you have to choose from.

Ask yourself:

  • How quickly will employees learn the new system?
  • Are we comfortable taking risk to get things up and running faster?
  • How much money do we want to spend on implementation?
  • What is our time frame?

Your ERP Implementation phasing options:

1. Big Bang

This is when your implementation happens all at one time and all users move to the new system on a given date. This is tough because your employees need to pick the system up as quickly as possible and they do not have much time for adjustment which can result in reduced productivity in the time period directly after implementation. Due to the quick nature of this strategy, there are a number of issues that will probably come up that need to be fixed and small details that may be overlooked which can cause some problems.  But it is not all bad. Big Bang is positive in that there is no need to be running and/or maintaining two systems at one time, the implementation time is much shorter and more inexpensive, and the pains and frustrations you may feel will make for a short period of chaos but after that time you should be all set barring any other factors such as poor product or partner selection.

2. Phased Rollout

With this ERP implementation tactic there is a predefined set of steps (or phases) to be taken to slowly transition from the old to the new.  There is much less risk associated with this plan and employees can learn as each new phase is implemented which will help keep productivity up after the implementation is complete. Another plus is as each part is implemented, you can make small changes and fixes as you go. On the downside, this is a longer process which means it will be more expensive. This extended period of implementation can cause continuous disruptions over the course of the project. Additionally your employees will have to work out of both systems to ensure they have all of the information they need to do their jobs which can be inefficient, not to mention annoying.

 3. Parallel Adoption

This is a less popular strategy where the old system and new system run at the same time. Users train on the new system but work out of the old system until the switch is made. This is the least risky strategy and in terms of speed it is slower than the big bang but faster than phased rollout. This is also the most expensive of the options and requires employees to enter data into both systems which can be tedious, time consuming, and leaves a lot of opportunity for error.

Can’t Choose?

It is also possible to use a combination of all three if you so choose.

Every company is different so it is impossible to say one of the above options is better than the others. it all comes down to your time frame, budget, resources, and how much risk you are comfortable taking.

What other pros and cons can you think of? Leave a comment or send us a tweet, we’d love to hear your opinions.

 ERP Implementation

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