Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ready... Set... Go-Live!

Before an ICM implementation can be deployed, there are a number of things that need to be done. "Go-Live" refers to an implementation being transitioned from being developed and tested, to being used in production. An application that is "in production" means that it is now used with real data, to pay real people, and bugs, errors and overpayments are not an option.

Meeting the go-live date when building an ICM solution is particularly important because those dates are often related to pay-roll cycles and are often less flexible than other type of systems.
With tight deadlines and little tolerance for mistakes, go-lives are the most stressful moment for anyone involved on the project. No matter how good the relationship with the client and how well the implementation went, if go-live is not successful, executives can get bitter, people can get fired, and all the hard work put in the project can be forgotten.

Implementing different applications require different steps to go live. An on-premise application will have more steps such as migrating the application from the development hardware onto the production hardware and making sure this hardware conforms to the development/test environment. For a SaaS solution there are less steps, migration is usually easier and there is no need to worry about hardware.

What is most stressful for a consultant during the go-live phase is that it's the ultimate milestone; the system must be rolled-out, and the implementation must be completed and functional. The User Acceptance Test (UAT) must be performed on the system and signed-off. UAT is essential to capture the client's agreement that the implementation performs as desired.
With all that is involved in the go-live phase, consultants will work 80-100 hours a week to make it happen; it’s "crunch-time"!

Here are a few ideas of items to include on your ICM go-live check list:

  • Setup and test all relevant hardware (if on-premise)
  • Ensure updated documentation exists and that users are trained.
  • Ensure a roll-back strategy is in place in case there is a ‘show stopper’
  • Ensure vendors and consultants are available during go-live period
  • Backup any existing configuration
  • Install, test and configure all required software, including the creation of a production database
  • Migrate all reference data such as order types, credit types, calendars, business groups, users, rolls, etc.
  • Migrate all organization data such as positions, titles, hierarchy, territories, customers, relationships, etc.
  • Migrate all plan artifacts such as plans, rules, formulas, tables, quotas, etc.
  • Migrate any other objects such as reports, draws, documents.
  • Ensure any script or data integration items are migrated / updated to reflect the environment change
  • Migrate all the required data to the new database
  • Test new system rigorously
  • Obtain sign-off on results (same results as user testing)

I haven't written on my blog in the past 2 weeks because I am just in the process of going live with 2 projects at the same time, for 2 different clients. Please be patient, I will start writing again soon.

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About Me

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Julien Dionne is a well-rounded consultant with global business management experience and outstanding technical, business and leadership skills. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and he is a member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association. The views posted within this blog do not reflect the views of Julien’s current or previous employers and clients. Julien can be reached at julien.dionne@gmail.com