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10 steps you need to carry out post-ERP implementation

Project leaders can navigate post-ERP implementation challenges by taking these steps. Get tips on when to tackle to-do list items and other tasks.

A little foresight can go a long way to support an ERP implementation. Project leaders should be proactive about the post-implementation process.

Reaching a new ERP system's go-live milestones is crucial for a successful rollout, but important work remains after go-live. Despite the project leader's best efforts during implementation, the implementation team might have needed to postpone some issues until after the go-live date, and some specific tasks must wait until after go-live regardless. Project leaders should understand that completion of post-implementation tasks can make or break an ERP system's adoption.

Here are the tasks project leaders should carry out post-ERP implementation as well as how they can prepare before go-live so they're set up for success.

1. Focus on ERP training

A small selection of employees might begin training before go-live. But the main training period will usually occur right after go-live, when the implementation and training team makes sure all employees and external users acquire the knowledge needed to use the new system.

To make the training easier for employees, project leaders should consider building and regularly adding to an FAQ that compiles questions from employees as employees send them and making sure the FAQ provides clear answers.

2. Finalize process documentation

The ERP implementation likely involved updates like automating manual processes or changing an existing process to fit within the new ERP's functionality.

The ERP configuration team should have kept much of the process documentation up to date during configuration. After the implementation, the team should carry out a final review of the documents and simplify the instructions on how to use the documents, if needed.

3. Prioritize outstanding issues

Often some issues aren't resolved during the final testing phase and before go-live. Project leaders should make sure the tasks that were previously postponed don't get forgotten post go-live.

The project manager should schedule a meeting with key stakeholders shortly after go-live so they can review the outstanding issues and prioritize them for resolution.

4. Respond to user questions

ERP system users will inevitably have questions after go-live, no matter how well training is conducted. The ERP project team should make sure users know who to contact for answers.

In addition, if external parties are accessing the ERP, they might need different contact options than internal users.

5. Schedule project update meetings

Once the ERP system is live, key stakeholders will continue to request updates. For example, they might ask for information on deferred issues, identify new ones and ask for statistics on system usage.

The project team must continue providing updates and producing dashboards until everyone agrees the project is closed.

6. Carry out data migration

The implementation project team might not have migrated all the historical data during the project because the data is old and of a lower priority. The organization also might have decided not to include the historical data in the new ERP because it will be stored in a separate system.

If the historical data will be stored in the new ERP, then the project team will need to take care of the data migration following go-live.

7. Clean up data

After go-live, the project team might need to quickly resolve issues with some of the migrated data.

These issues might not have been resolved before because of a tight deadline for the data migration or decisions made during the data migration process might need to be reversed now. For example, the team might have created duplicate records for the same vendor during the data migration, and the team needs to delete the duplicates.

The team might also find previously unknown errors that they missed during the data migration process. For example, the data conversion scripts might have changed the data in an unexpected way.

8. Offboard departing team members

Team members often move on to other projects after the go-live milestone. Before that happens, project leaders should make sure departing team members finish any necessary tasks.

These tasks might include finalizing implementation documents, completing any outstanding expense reports and timesheets and potentially training another team member on their area of responsibility.

9. Complete project closeout

Once the implementation is complete, the team might need to complete some specific tasks to officially close the project.

Tasks include finalizing all the necessary documents, ensuring the software development code is stored properly, finalizing payments and confirming that all tasks that were outstanding at go-live are complete. If the project will continue with a next phase, then these activities should focus on closing the previous phase.

10. Plan for the next phase

The organization will likely need to complete additional work post go-live. That work might include implementing new features, addressing new or previously known defects, or integrating a third-party tool.

The implementation team should initiate a new planning cycle before starting these tasks so the group can scope the work, get approval and build a team. The team should also give key stakeholders an opportunity to provide input into the items that the group will address and the timeframe in which they will do so.

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