3 Reasons Your Go Live Date Should Never Be January 1st
We’ve encountered quite a few companies that want to, or already have, selected January 1st as their planned go live date—and why not? After all, the first day of a new year seems like an intuitive day to pick: the start of a new fiscal year if you follow the calendar year, a clearly defined date for before and after evaluations and a way to ensure you capture all of your year’s enterprise data in that new system.
However, the New Year is one of the worst dates that you could pick for an enterprise software implementation. Let’s do a quick run down of why.
No matter what kind of industry you work in, we can guarantee you that your workers are going to be distracted during the holiday period. After all those days off, time spent with family and heavy overeating that the holidays entail, there’s no way that your team is going to come back on the first day and be raring to implement new changes and commit to seeing them through successfully—they’ll be too focus on their New Year’s Resolutions. This is especially true for such a transformative change as a new company-wide software system. You simply can’t enact that kind of transformation during one of the busiest times of the year.
A new enterprise program, whether its CRM, ERP or another business-crucial application, needs to be the entire focus of your workforce. When your employees are still morphing back into full work mode from holiday time, they can’t give 100 percent on that go live date (especially if they’ve been up late the night before). You need to make sure that the imperative final tasks of testing, training and data migration happen quickly and correctly. Can you really risk a careless mistake in the first days of your project, and those valuable investment dollars that you put in that project?
Those post-holiday blues unavoidably carry over into the economy as well. When you’re testing and implementing a brand new piece of software, you want to be sure that the mission-critical features of your selected system can withstand your business processes when they are running at full capacity. After everyone has spent their money on travel, gifts and the end of year sales, they generally tend to reduce their spending in January. The economic standstill will feed into the stagnation of what should be your exciting go live date. You may be ready to go all-out on a new system, but everyone else might not be on the same page. You might have other team members looking to tie up any loose ends from the last fiscal year or sending off reports and data to stakeholders. Either way, it’s a given that your project team’s focus probably won’t be fully on that go live date, and by putting the deadline on the first of January you are risking the failure of your software project.
You are Guaranteeing Poor User Adoption
If employees are not sufficiently excited about or properly trained in the use of a new enterprise system, they will inevitably get frustrated when they can’t navigate the system or use it in the same ways that they have been used to—especially if you are a first-time ERP or CRM adopter and switching from paper solutions.
This frustration leads to poor user adoption of your new system. Employees won’t input data correctly or at all, will start reverting back to paper or spreadsheets for entry and feeling like the old ways worked better anyway. The result: an incomplete system that does not contain all of your client data, or accumulates inaccuracies in your inventory management. There’s no better way to lose customers than failing to follow up or fulfill an order, which is all the more likely when you have ambivalent employees who don’t know how to use your enterprise software correctly on the go live date who then leave errors and holes in your system.
Consider a February Go Live Date
So, what’s the alternative? We believe you’ll find much more success just by pushing that go live date back a month to February 1st. Your team will have been back in full work mode for a while, will have been sufficiently trained and prepped for the golive date and have time to get excited about it and all the benefits it’s going to provide for your business. You also don’t have to worry that your new software won’t feel ‘complete’ without that first month of data recorded. It’s easy to import January’s data into the software, filling out that calendar year of information that you’re looking for.
When you pick a go live date, you want to be looking for a time when your employees can give their full attention to the project and have been sufficiently re-integrated into your business and its processes following the distraction-filled holidays. Only then can you dedicate all the time and resources that your valuable software investment deserves.
For more information on enterprise software implementation and selecting the perfect go live date for your project, get in touch with a software solutions expert at Datix today.
Take a look at these posts for more implementation advice;
- Ultimate ERP Implementation Plan E-Book
- So You Think You Can Implement Enterprise Software Yourself?
- Software Adoption Strategy — Everything You Should Know