phased rollout

What is phased rollout?

Phased rollout is a hardware or software migration method that involves incrementally implementing a new system.

An organization can conduct a phased rollout either by implementing the entire new system only in certain locations or business units, or by updating separate modules of the system independently until the implementation is complete.

Pros and cons of phased rollouts

Because changes are made progressively in a phased rollout, the organization doesn't have to deal with all the potential implementation issues at the same time. Furthermore, IT teams can apply the information learned in the early stages to guide the rest of the implementation process, reducing the likelihood of issues as the implementation continues. A phased rollout also lets users adjust to the new system gradually.

On the other hand, it can be confusing to have groups of users working with different systems or employees working with elements of different systems. That confusion can also lead to data quality issues.

Other approaches to system implementation

Phased rollouts are not the only option when implementing or migrating to a new system. Alternatives to phased rollouts include the following:

  • Big bang adoption, which involves complete and simultaneous implementation of the new system across an organization.
  • Parallel adoption, which involves running both the old and new systems until implementation of the new system is deemed complete and successful.
  • Pilot conversion, which involves rolling out the new system to a small group of users for evaluation and testing before implementing it across the organization.
This was last updated in May 2023

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