This post was provided by Sara Silver, SBS Desert Mountain, SBS Group National Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team.
You’ve been planning your conversion to Dynamics NAV for months with your integration partner. Everyone has had their training and Go Live is scheduled. You think you have thought of everything – but have you? There is always something! Let’s just hope it’s not too catastrophic!
Here are some things to make sure you have in your Go Live plan to ensure it is a success:
- Don’t go it alone! Engage Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to participate in the planning, testing and go live. There should be at least one SME from each key department who can take responsibility for different functional areas of the implementation. Setup regular meetings with the SMEs and your implementation partner so you stay on track.
- What’s the data conversion plan? A test run of the data conversion a few weeks prior to go live can help you make sure any wrinkles are ironed out. Make sure your financials tie out and confirm all opening transactions are correct. Plan on running conversion again before go live. Even if your partner is doing the data conversion, it is your job to make sure it’s right!
- Setup security now! Don’t wait until the last minute or after Go Live to deal with security or it will be an ongoing thorn in your side. Training and user testing should be done with security already setup so you’ll encounter any access or rights issues prior to go live. There will be issues – security can be pretty tricky. Personally, I’m a big fan of Easy Security from Mergetool.com. At first I thought it was not so ‘easy’, but once I understood it I was in love.
- Make the most of the role centers! Improve the standard role centers that come with NAV to fit your environment. A lot of this can be done without programming. Ask your partner about “configure” mode.
- Install the NAV client on all workstations and have users do typical ‘day in the life work’ at their desk, not in the training room. Be sure they print whatever they typically print! Does the user perform tasks that integrate with other hardware or other systems (shipping scales, credit cards, etc)? Make sure all necessary add-ins are installed and functioning for these integrations.
- Give the users homework. If you are a distribution company, have customer service enter 10-20 new orders per person and then have the warehouse pack and ship these orders. Accounting should do a sample check run. Users should also post the open items from the test data conversion– this will assure that defaults are properly set on the converted data. Everyone should sign off on their homework or better yet, they should turn it in! This should also catch any issues with security. Ninety five percent of go live issues are related to lack of end user testing. Yes, users are busy with their regular jobs – but their quality of life will be much better after Go Live if they invest the time. The SME’s should work with each of their departments to confirm everyone is ready to go.
- Make sure printing is a go. Make sure purchase orders, sales orders, invoices and statements all print properly. Do the checks line up with the window envelopes? Do the executive reports print as expected? (Always keep the boss happy during this time!)
- You are going to need a list – and preferably not on scraps of paper! Open up an issues document of some sort that can be shared with key team members (both end user and partner). If you are not using Sharepoint, check out www.smartsheet.com for a great tool to share spreadsheets.
- Cutover to the new system and deny access to the old. Re-run the data conversion with your partner and turn off access to the old system except for a few key users. (Believe me – users will go into that old system to enter orders if they can find a way!)
- Keep a training/test company available for the users so they can practice. Preferably, this company is in your live database, and the security for this company matches live. Make it easy for your users to practice what they have learned and to try new things. Set up the System Indicator in the Company Information page so that it is easy to see which company you are in. Set up a red indicator that says ‘Test Company’ –so there is no question whether or not you are in the sand box.
Take care of these items and you should be good to go. Order pizza for the entire company for lunch tomorrow! Get a good night sleep and you’ll be live in the morning!