New year, new ERP? Some companies believe that January is the best time to go live with a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation. And for some, it is. But does that timing make sense for your company? How did January 1 come to be designated the best go-live date? And what should you consider when choosing a timeframe for your implementation?
Why some choose January 1
Often there are financial reasons businesses choose January 1 as their go-live date. The finance/accounting department likes to have a clean close of their books at year-end and have all their new entries in the new system beginning in the new year.
Another reason might have to do with the business being bought by a parent company that mandates a January 1 go-live. Or, perhaps the organization is launching other initiatives (e.g., online marketing), and efforts must be coordinated around that chosen date. In many cases, there is no choice but to go with the January 1 go-live.
Also, some legacy ERP and financial systems have "buckets"—where data accumulates over a number of months. At month-end, those buckets are dumped. Because the buckets are not date-sensitive, they can create reporting issues, which causes your finance team to be hypervigilant about dumping them. Sometimes, however, they think those buckets need to be dumped simply because that's the way they have always operated.
Why January 1 may not be your best choice
There are reasons you should consider going live with your new ERP at another time. The days leading up to January are a busy time for most organizations. To year-end, add a holiday season with employees taking time off or using up vacation or personal days. Trying to introduce a new system will be stressful and put your teams under pressure at a time when you may not have their full attention.
There will be tasks involved with the implementation, such as a mock go-live, testing, etc. There will be training for users who need to become familiar with a new system. If these occur before year-end vacations, the gap between training and go-live could be as much as a month or more. How much will your users remember if they have not had the opportunity to work with the new solution?
Select a go-live date that works for you
What is the best date for going live with your new or upgraded ERP? That will depend on your organization's schedule, requirements, and processes. To help you decide, here are some questions you should consider:
- You will need at least a month for training before going live with your new system. When during the year are those involved with the implementation and training most likely to be available to give the new ERP project their full attention?
- Are there seasons that your business is particularly hectic?
- Are there times when your accounting team is busiest?
Evaluate the natural rhythm of your organization and work with that rather than against it. Arbitrary dates and deadlines can cause everyone unnecessary pressure and anxiety.
Your ERP partner and the right tools will help
Our team at ArcherPoint knows the importance of comparing data from the old system with the new one. For best results, we apply
There is no reason not to approach your ERP go-live on your terms. With the right tools and the right partner, you can choose a go-live date for your ERP implementation that is right for your business.
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