In Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the first habit is “Be Proactive.” When you decided it was time to upgrade, replace, or simply install your ERP system, you covered that one.
For those of you who are fans of Habit #2, “Begin with the End in Mind,” you’ve arrived at the End of the implementation process and the beginning of a whole new definition of “productive.”
GO BACK: The Algorithm Implementation Methodology Part I
When to “Go Live”
In Part II we provided the details for the Conference Room Pilot, and we pick up here at the point where everyone has passed that test. The Implementation Team has given their “thumbs-up.” The Algorithm Team has also given theirs. The executive team has been apprised. Everyone is ready to go!
Scheduling the Go-Live date has become far simpler than it used to be. Back then, teams would wait for an end-of-financial-period. Over time people realized how busy a time that usually is, making it perhaps the worst time to add in a cutover to a new system. Typically, Go-Live goes best over a weekend when most companies are not active and time can be taken to do it right, with time left over to back it off and try again later if necessary.
Typically, the Algorithm Team arrives on a Friday morning on which the company has arranged to cut off system transactions at noon. They’ll stop all ERP activities and post all transactions so their accounting team can reconcile everything in the afternoon.
The team makes every effort to visit with as many users as possible to introduce themselves, shake hands, and explain exactly what will be going on. They answer any questions users may have about what to anticipate.
By mid-afternoon, around 3pm, they are finished using their legacy system and it is at this point that Algorithm begins the final conversion of the data. Having gone through several iterations of the conversion process, testing and validating all routines throughout the implementation process, this is usually completed by Friday evening. Algorithm has developed an automated utility for this conversion which accelerates the process. The extract files are then converted to the new data structure and migrated into the new system.
After a good night’s rest, on Saturday morning, we'll meet with the Project Team who will then validate the data conversion, making sure that all the balances, open transactions, quantities, etc. have arrived in the new ERP system as expected. It is intensive data reconciliation that fortunately usually goes off without a hitch, but the numbers must be checked.
Finally, the Algorithm technical team assures that everything is working properly, all printers and other devices work properly, and everything is setup correctly.
Then everyone takes Sunday off.
The Go Live Celebration
Monday morning each person arrives rested and refreshed and ready to begin a new chapter.
Algorithm makes this a celebration of all the months of work and commitment getting us to this point by bringing in refreshments and congratulatory charm (there may even be a Bloody Mary bar).
By this time, everyone has been trained, everyone is prepared, they’ve learned how to perform all their processes. The data is clean having been completely validated. It’s time to go to work.
If anything, we prove that it should never be called “day zero support.” Our team spends the day cheering users on, congratulating them on their mastery. We also answer whatever questions arise, hold some hands, tweak some reports, and work out the little things that may have slipped past our final testing.
It’s also not “day zero” because its generally more than a day. For several days, our support team is available either on-site or remotely depending upon the issue. It provides great comfort to the users knowing there is someone there to fix their mistakes if they make any.
Why such a party? Because implementing a new system for our customers, to live and work on, is a personal thing. We become friendly with our users and they can always sense that we genuinely care about their getting the most out of what we do for them. It’s a big event for them, and its big for us too, so we work to make it as big and memorable, and smooth, as possible.
But Wait! There’s More!!!
Our implementation of a new ERP is almost always a “Phase One” activity. Why? Because we know that user adoption is the key to a successful project, so their “time-to-value” is our highest objective. We deliver a sustainable system that at minimum fully replaces all the functionality of their previous one with better technology and more efficient operation, but there’s just about always more the customer later discusses with us that they want.
They may have some manual spreadsheets and planning tools they’ve always used and are comfortable with. It’s often decided early on not to remove and replace these in phase one. It creates too much disruption in their daily routines. Over time, as they become familiar with what their new ERP can do, we often find them asking us to upgrade them so they can eliminate those spreadsheets and other tools.
Even without much new functionality, they appreciate the new efficiency. They start to learn about more capabilities of their system and become enthusiastic about them. At that point, introduction of something new is far easier because it’s something they want.
Many Algorithm clients have a Phase Three, Phase Four even. They want to integrate Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Some see real opportunity in using higher-order analytics, real-time dashboards, and other technologies. There’s a popular term used by software developers and system operators called CI/CD, Continuous Improvement through Continuous Deployment. That’s what we work to deliver.
The Why in Algorithm
Academic rigor website The Conversation tells us, “In the most general sense, an algorithm is a series of instructions telling a computer how to transform a set of facts about the world into useful information.”
In the most important sense, that is what we at Algorithm are all about. Not the technology. Not the code. Not the well-defined, rigorously tested methodologies. We’re about providing businesses with the useful information they need to make better decisions. To take more effective action. Better business outcomes.
We strive to earn a productive, long-term relationship with our clients in which we can continue to contribute to their ability to leverage more accurate, more robust information to achieve greater success. Our people are experts in our ERP’s, in accounting, in finance, in technology, and in application management. Our programs are designed to be flexible and adaptable to your specific needs. We never attempt to replace our clients’ capabilities, simply to augment, complement, and supplement them.
Our partnerships with the major ERP providers such as Acumatica and Epicor, are just as strong and personal. We’re in this for the long-term, just like you.
You’ve now learned how we do what we do. Next step is to get started on this well-defined, well-travelled road. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and talk to us about what you want to accomplish. We’ll show you how to apply just the right Algorithm.