One of our clients recently went live with their Epicor platform.
As often happens with growing businesses, they decided to migrate from an older ERP system. One that no longer fit their business needs and objectives.
Delata Consultants set about developing a number of reports, completed customizations, and developed a set of dashboards.
About a month before go live, there was virtually no user feedback on the deliverables. As they say, no news is good news!
Then things became eerily quiet.
We should have known something was up.
Shortly after the “go live” day, we started receiving a number of messages from the client. They all said that some of the reports or other deliverables were not “working as expected”.
Add to that a two-day shutdown caused by a server breakdown, and you can guess that the stress level was very high…
Eventually, the servers were replaced over the weekend and the client resumed operations the following Monday.
We were finally able to analyze the issues that arose, and our conclusion was interesting. Over 90% of the encountered issues were the direct result of production operations revealing incomplete report functionality.
In other words: the report/customization/dashboard specifications did not include the operational context users faced on a daily basis.
This meant that we had to rapidly clarify the new requirements, analyze them, and test them. Things settled down gradually as users began to make use of the reports over the ensuing weeks.
Now when things are quiet, we know not to worry.
Following this experience, I came up with the top 5 tips for a successful go live for Epicor clients, partners, and developers:
1.Train Your Users: Ensure that all future users are properly trained in using the system for their respective tasks.
2. Get Experienced Analysts: Call on experienced functional analysts who can assist users in preparing their test plans that reflect the business’ operational reality.
3. Outline Your Business Needs: Ensure you clearly express your business needs when preparing specifications for developers, whether it be for reports, dashboards, customizations, etc. If you feel you need an Epicor functional analyst’s assistance, ask your company’s project manager.
4. Understand Your Context: Ensure you thoroughly understand how Epicor is used in your business context. This comes from adequate training in Epicor for each task you are expected to accomplish with the new system. Make sure this understanding translates into a realistic set of user acceptance test scenarios.
5. Keep Developers In Contact: Stay in contact with client users several weeks before the go live to make sure they are putting the necessary effort into executing their user acceptance tests and provide any assistance that may be required
Although these points may appear obvious, often it’s the simplest rules that are the easiest to forget.
Avoid a lot of stress and make for a smoother transition to your new Epicor system by running through these 5 points.
-René Millette, Founder & CEO of Delata Consultants, Ltd.