What Happens After Go-Live? Three Steps for Ensuring Success
March 17, 2015
Technology is available to enable every facet of the procurement process today. As a result, all of the organization’s energy often gets spent on technology deployment as the goal, and the go-live date as the objective. However, technology is only a means to an end result, and the go-live date is only a point in time. Whether you are pushing out an upgrade, adding new features, or rolling out an entirely new platform, looking beyond go-live to overall organizational goals will get you on the path to long term success.
Go-live is really just phase one. The system is up; the enhancement is deployed. Now comes the hard part. We have to ensure that the support function is ready; we have to maximize adoption; we have to support the system while rolling out the next phase; and then we have to be ready for the next level of support.
We have experienced first-hand issues where even mature procurement organizations have adopted new technology and processes and fallen into the trap of not planning for or thinking through the back office support structure. How is the world going to change in the new state? How are the roles changing? Have we adequately trained our ‘seasoned’ back office support personnel so they can adapt to new processes? Most organizations have one shot to put the right foundation in place with defined goals, solid planning, and a focused support structure. Without these foundational components, as a colleague of mine so aptly put it, “users have bad experiences, adoption halts, and momentum is ruined.”
Having the right planning and approach, along with the right post go-live foundation, can smooth the pathway, drive success, and maintain the momentum to execute your strategic vision.
1. Set Goals
At the beginning of the project, before any other conversation, current state workshop, or design session begins, set the goals for beyond the project implementation.
Think about success metrics: one month after go-live, three months after go-live, and one year after go-live. What does ‘success’ look like in each of those timeframes? It might be increasing percentages of spend under management, category transactions through the system, number of users or geographic regions, number of invoices processed electronically, or number of sourcing events completed and savings goals achieved. It could be any combination of these.
Think about the operational goals that you want to achieve, such as: centralizing or decentralizing a procurement function, spend visibility and reporting for decision-making, moving tactical resources to more strategically focused functions.
Put the target in place at the end of the field so we know what we are shooting at, and more importantly, we know when we hit the bullseye.
2. Plan Ahead
Once the goals are in place, planning can begin. Consider the two very distinct paths that will split off directly after go-live and plan for them accordingly.
- Phase 2 Through X Implementation/Rollout Processes – the peaks of additional phase ‘project’ type work that may be lower in resource allowance or timeline than phase 1, but still follows a similar process (requirements, design, development, testing etc.).
- Hypercare and Steady State Activities – the immediate post-deployment support needed, followed by the maintenance and operational support of a new system and its users. This includes training of the existing support function; staffing up for user support and issue management; building in system health maintenance and operational monitoring plans and then preparing for the next phase.
3. Monitor, Evaluate, and Improve (Post Go-Live)
Measure against the goals you set at the beginning of the initiative, and more importantly, how you are supporting the achievement of those goals.
Out of the gate you are in hypercare mode. There are a flood of support requirements that you didn’t have the day before: user issues, technical issues, and change management issues. After the hypercare phase, the support requirements will settle in to a steady state until the next phase of the project rolls out.
To get a sense of how things are going, determine the answers to questions like the following:
- How are your operational and technical support teams adapting to the new environment and any changes in their roles?
- Are they adequately trained?
- Do you have the right support model in place that is focused on the infrastructure and operations management so that you are meeting the goals you established?
- Beyond that, are you thinking about routine maintenance and improvement opportunities?
As an organization focused on Procurement Optimization, we have witnessed a large number of clients struggle through these issues. Whether you manage the post go-live phase yourself or seek expert assistance, these steps will help you achieve the business objectives you established up front for your technology initiative. For more information about our Procurement Optimization services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.