The past year and half have been a roller coaster ride for us and our partners. Nobody knew how long the world’s longest lockdown would last. Businesses were forced to adopt to a new reality. Pandemonium set in. In our Business Central world remote Go Live projects were no longer a myth.
On the upside as the lockdown continued some organisations began to readdress their IT projects. Organisations realised they could seize the opportunity and update their operations systems before business bounced back. At the height of restriction fluctuations, I kick-started a Microsoft Business Central implementation project for a large Not-For-Profit (NPO) organisation.
At some point, we were able to run most sessions in person. Somehow we managed to cover discovery, workshops, walkthroughs and end-user training. Unfortunately, a super critical stage of this ERP project could not be achieved on-site.
New reality hits critical deployment stage
With the onset of lockdown after lockdown, our original Go Live date – August 1st was pushed back one month. We needed to allow for more user acceptance testing. At this stage the project was running smoothly and progressing well. But on August 5 lockdown number 6 kicked in.
We were in a quandary. We had to decide if we were still going to go live on the first day in September, or wait for the lockdown to ease. During a few highly productive client meetings we carefully weighed the risk versus the cost. Despite all the uncertainties, we decided to go ahead. The original Go-Live date of September 1 remained unhinged.
Bold moves, big rewards
Here at Fenwick Software we always valued in-person interactions. As you can imagine, a remote Go-Live scenario as opposed to an on-site one went against everything I believed in. But uncertain times called for a plan B. We used advanced tools, methods and processes to ensure the remote Go-Live route was a success.
Remote Go Live – 5 key success factors
- Doubling down on preparation – We spent extra time and resources planning the cutover process compared to on-premise conditions. The Go-Live pre-setup featured a test cutover of a subset of data to minimise friction
- Streamlining project management – Each Go Live task was documented in detail to clarify team member’s roles and expectations
- Minimising business downtime – We were lucky to have only two days of downtime. It gave us a head start. and was key in reducing risk.
- Investing in user manuals – Extra process documentation was provided as on-site support was not possible
- Setting up Teams breakout rooms – ran breakout rooms to manage all Go-Live teething issues and queries. Instead of working on-site for 2-to-3 days and closely guiding our users, we moved to remote handholding on Teams.
Remote Go Live – In sum
The remote Go-Live experience was a great success.
I concede, I had my doubts. After all, it was my first ever remote set up experience. Luckily, our partner’s project team stepped up to the challenge and were on the same page. Everyone was well prepared, knew what their roles were and constantly communicated online.
The experience made me realise; remote Go Live is possible. The caveat; it needs to be extremely well planned. Finally, lockdown 6 ended on October 21, 2021. Overall it was 50 days after we went live.
Now that business is bouncing back, I can’t wait to return to the in-person experience. Although work is still frantic, I welcome the familiar organised chaos with open arms.