First week after the go-live for an implementation has always been a memorable time for me. It is a test of how successful and effective the implementation has been but more importantly, it is when a project vision becomes an exciting reality.
During the implementation phase, a lot of time and effort is spent in designing and reengineering the processes for the organization. The base premise of this remodelling is to create an alignment for the people, processes and systems such that the organization is able to move forward towards its long term objectives. Various elements of the new processes are taken from the industry best practices, individual experiences, and a little bit of art and imagination. The validity and effectiveness of these processes is tested using flow charts, discussions, and role play simulations.
On the first day there is excitement as well as apprehension in the air – there are new buttons to click within the system and new paper/digital trails to follow. During this phase, sitting with users when they carry out the processes for the first time helps boost their confidence and allows the team to review the results.
In an ideal world, all the new processes have already been tried and tested in the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase, making the go-live process short and sweet. Reality however is different, and understandably so because it is very hard to test all possible scenarios based on a process that is new to the organization.
But, this is exactly where the fun begins!
Most of the time, we consultants do rely on our own industry experiences to not only re-design the process but also keep them flexible enough so that they can handle variations. This is not a fool-proof method, and the UAT still plays an important role as we improvise and learn, but it allows us to effectively manage the go-live process and assist the users so that the new processes become the norm as soon as possible and the organization can start reaping the benefits of the new system.