A lot of state and local entities are using legacy, some might say vintage financial systems. There will come a time when an upgrade or “demolition and greenfield” is necessary. This can be a scary endeavor, the complexity of which can derail the much-needed refresh of the system. A recent ERP project in Indiana was canceled by the city council, not due to budgetary concerns, but over the actual upgrade process itself, and the effect it could have on the city. This city had unfortunately experienced a bad implementation on a smaller software update that influenced the decision.
Here are 5 solid upgrade tips to consider when approaching a software implementation:
Assemble a small but mighty and passionate committee. These folks will work with users to identify the pain points, draft the project plan, and are the champions that will spread out amongst the organization to provide the Rah Rah and uplift the project objectives.
Get executive buy-in early! Use the core folks to create a short but effective justification document outlining the need and benefit to the business. It is all about the ROI and without strong executive sponsorship it turns out to be just a bunch of IT folks crying out for new software, it falls flat, and you are left with a group of annoyed executives and a puddle of technology tears.
Identify and train SME’s (Subject matter experts). They may exist or there may be a need to promote folks into the position. They should be prepped and ready for what will become a job and a half. Make this a vote of confidence and find ways to compensate them for the effort, like money, food, or Doge Coins. They will join the core folks to help others in the organization transition and feel comfortable with the impending change.
Understand that with 30 years of disparate systems come musty old processes and an opportunity for change. Change Management is a delicate but important phase of a project like upgrade an ERP financial software. With the previously mentioned tenets in place, change management should come easier. Share the reasoning and answer the inevitable WHYS and HOWS . In the end, all the user cares about is how they will accomplish their job.
In the end, a successful go-live ERP upgrade should feel exhilarating and fun. To get to this point, it is imperative to pick the right vendor to work alongside of the internal team. The two organizations will be coupled together for a concentrated and intense process. There should be chemistry and a healthy line of communication that establishes respectful dialog and objectivity as the project moves up and down the unavoidable hills that will arise throughout the process. Depending on the organization size and personnel variables, a good vendor will successfully coordinate the available needs and provide the technical, functional, emotional, you name-it-all, resources. It is transformative and lasting.
To learn more about what a successful upgrade/implementation can look like and how it impacts the end users. Check out Kentucky Lottery Corporation case study: