5 Phase Implementation Process Overview
After the support staff are in place and the final risk analysis and readiness assessments give the green light, the company is ready for the cut-over and CRM go-live event. Below are a few suggestions to achieve an anti-climatic go-live experience.
- The cut-over event is a prime time to have extra feet on the ground. When the go-live event happens, your full project team, including executive sponsor, should be shadowing the user communities in order to project confidence and be instantly available for user requests or the inevitable software irregularities that are sure to arise. Be sure to coordinate with administrators of related systems, such as the back-office Enterprise Resource Planning system, and liaise with the help desk resources periodically throughout the early days of the go-live.
- It's also a good idea to have additional staff from your software vendor or third party consultant on hand. On site trained resources to stand over the shoulders of users at go-live is a worthwhile investment.
- When users have issues, questions or problems, refrain from just supplying them with quick answers and instead show them the help resources that have been created to provide such information. This will both grant the user an on-demand information resource and validate that the help materials are accurate and complete.
- The users' greatest reluctance of the new system generally occurs on the first production day. It is very important that the change management plan include the findings discovered from throughout the implementation and be ready for user adoption challenges. Winning the early days following the go-live event sets the stage to win the long-term implementation. Losing the early days sets the stage for an uphill battle.
As with many types of projects, advanced planning and preparation are the keys to success. There is a clear correlation between comprehensive CRP testing and go-live success. The more the CRM software system pilot is tested, the more smooth the go-live event will likely be. After a few days into the go-live period, the system will have stabilized, the users will have increased their confidence and the project team will hold a preliminary exit conference in order to bring closure to the Go-Live phase.