Don’t Start the Year with a Software Launch
In over 20 years of business, our software consultants have encountered quite a few companies that want to select January 1st as their go-live date—and why not? After all, the first day of a new year seems like a smart 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 your year’s enterprise data in that new system. However, New Year’s Day is one of the worst dates that you could pick for an enterprise software implementation. Here’s 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, there’s no way that your team is going to come back raring to implement changes and commit to seeing them through. This is especially true for such a transformative change as a new, company-wide software implementation. You simply can't enact that kind of transformation during one of the busiest times of the year.
Whether it’s ERP, CRM or another business application, a new software instance needs to be the focus of your project team. When your employees are still getting back into full work mode after the holidays, 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 making a careless mistake on the first days of your software launch and losing those valuable investment dollars?
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 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.
Poor User Adoption
If employees aren’t 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 software 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. They may even start reverting back to paper or spreadsheets for entry, feeling like the old ways worked better anyway. The result: a system riddled with mistakes. Users might inaccurately manage inventory or neglect to maintain complete client data. There’s no better way to lose customers than failing to follow up or fulfill an order, which is all too likely when you have distracted employees who don’t know how to use your enterprise software correctly on the go-live date.
Everyone likes to get a fresh start to the new year, but a software implementation on January 1st is not the way. Launch your software when you can garner the full support of your enterprise. This will help you avoid leaving out critical steps in the implementation process and strengthen user adoption.
A premier software consultant for over 20 years, Datix is your go-to source to get ready for go live. We’re an Epicor Platinum Partner and certified partner of both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, making us ERP and CRM experts. From start to finish, our consultants help manufacturers and distributors with every detail of their software projects. Plus, with our Unity integration solution, we can seamlessly integrate your software into a single source of truth to power streamlined processes and end-to-end visibility.
For more information on our software solutions and services, get in touch with an expert at Datix today!