We often get asked when is the best time to change software, or ‘Go-Live’ on new software. Is it 1 July, end of month, mid-month? The answer is it can be any of those times and the critical factor is not the date. Four 4 critical factors in determining when to ‘Go-Live’ are:-
- Is the software ready? It is demonstrated to be setup correctly, tested, forms working (e.g. quotes, invoices).
- Are your people ready? They have had adequate training and familiarisation. They know the new procedures to follow.
- Are the right people available? Your key people are at work, not on leave. They don’t have other projects distracting them at this important time. Your implementer is on-site.
- Do you have a clear ‘cutover’ or ‘data conversion’ plan? You have agreed what data needs to be transferred to the new software, where it’s coming from, and you know how to check it. Often the data is coming from multiple sources like your old accounting software, your estimating system and some spreadsheets. The ‘cutover’ plan includes reconciling so that before any transaction is processed in the new software the data has been reconciled to its source. The ‘data conversion’ is tested (e.g. completed in a test system) at least once. That way you can have confidence that you have an accurate ‘starting position’.
These items would form part of the overall project plan and help ensure as smooth a transition as possible.