Author: Richard Clayton, Managed Services Practice Director, Namos Solutions
I recently presented at UK Oracle User Group on the subject of ‘Life After Go-Live’ to a fantastic audience of Oracle customers and consultants. The afternoon slot on the final day of a conference is rarely so engaged so I am convinced it was the subject of my talk (rather than the presentation!) that struck such a chord. After all, the truth is that after the dust has settled on your project, the benefits and lessons, are mostly realised once you are live.
Our CEO always reminds us that it is not the Sales we win, it is the Projects we deliver that defines Namos. 2022 will see a record number of customers go-live with Oracle Cloud, therefore I thought I would share the 5 most common lessons learned from going live, both as a customer and now Managed Services Director.
1. Celebrate the Success
Business transformation projects are rarely easy, especially those with the positive digital disruption brought about by Cloud adoption. No matter how good the team is, there will have been challenges along the way that needed to be met together. Therefore, take a moment to celebrate together.
All too often, people move straight from project to operation without taking stock of the achievement. From my own experience as a customer, I remember feeling overwhelming relief. I knew there would be challenges ahead, however, I knew that from day one, all of the legacy systems that had been keeping me awake at night, were going to be a thing of the past.
As for my customer ‘Go-Live Party’… I missed it. We had just gone live with 66 integrations, dozens of business process and thousands of new users. I was elated… and knackered! However, partying would have to wait as I was overdue flying out to my wife and family who had had to go on holiday without me whilst I finished up Cutover. In true testament to the impact these projects can have, whether it was queued up family planning or giddy abandon, nine months after that holiday we were blessed with our third child. I can promise you that in his entire life, he has caused me fewer sleepless nights than that project!
2. Move to Standard Operating Procedures ASAP(ractical)
HyperCare and Early Life Support can be essential to stabilising, however, they are temporary measures. Benefits are only fully realised when the intended users are following the intended operating procedures. It may be uncomfortable, it may be noisy, but the longer the stabilisers are on, the less likely people are to ride the bike themselves.
Remember that UAT should test Utility, i.e. is the solution fit for purpose, and Warranty, i.e. can it be secured, operated, administered by the intended users. Ensure that To Be Processes and UAT test steps are combined to make Standard Operating Procedures. Don’t write endless user manuals that need to be maintained with every patch, instead write procedures that describe critical business processes, linking to videos or Oracle docs where necessary. Definitely don’t let ‘go-live’ be the first time trickier stakeholders use the system.
Ensure the project team are still in place to oversee transition and the early wave of ‘how do I’ questions, however, ensure the organisation accepts the exit criteria to disband the team.
3. “I always used to” – Access and Reports
I am yet to see a project where at least one person has not come out of the woodwork to say “I always used to…”. To carry on the bike analogy, it is the proverbial stick in the spokes! In most cases, it is to do with access to data, either in screens or in reports. Quite often it is ‘shadow IT’ that was allowed to prosper (or fester!).
My advice is to have elevated rights processes and request workflows in place from day one. Ensure there is governance and process to raise, approve and grant Access, or equally to analyse, specify and queue Report builds. Finally, don’t be afraid to say no. Just because someone always used to, does not mean they still should. Don’t back down on the principles of decentralised self-service or centralised efficiencies. Ensure those saying no are well placed to apply pragmatic due diligence that will be accepted by the recipient.
4. Overzealous Process – Approvals and Workflows
Even the best consultants and most decisive clients will make decisions that are fine for UAT and month one, but end up being a pain by month twelve! It is why it is so important to consider modern best practices and to scrutinise As Is processes. This is especially true in Approvals and Workflows/Journeys.
If you find yourself in a similar spot with approvals, be wary of making knee-jerk changes. Things like BPM approvals need to be tackled with patience (and perseverance). Incremental, well thought out changes, with some offline/exceptional steps, are better than wholesale changes done on month two. If impatience grows, consider force/delegate approval options as an interim.
5. Be Sympathetic, Be Brave
I like to remind people that our job is to be Digital Disrupters. When it’s done right, the project team becomes a ‘guiding coalition’, each ‘agents of change’ rather than a ‘necessary evil’! However, we need to be mindful that everyone’s reaction to change is different. It is our job to take people through the journey. Be sympathetic to opposition, whilst being unapologetic of the drivers.
The figure below illustrates that change journey, I am sure we can all think of examples when people have had those reactions. Our job is to mitigate those threats whilst capitalising on the opportunities change brings… easier said than done!
Fig 1: Change journey to support stakeholders on
If you want a Managed Services partner who will help on that journey, please get in touch. Namos have taken dozens of clients through that journey and into a place where they are adopting processes, looking forward to patches, and planning roadmaps of new solution adoption.
About Namos Solutions
Namos Solutions are an award-winning Oracle OPN Modernised Partner specialising in the implementation and support of ERP, EPM and HCM business solutions, both in the Cloud and on-premise.
Although based in central London, we work wherever our clients need us to be. Many leading organisations located all over the world trust and rely on our expertise to deliver industry-leading business solutions. Namos customers can currently be found in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America and Africa.
For more information, please visit www.namossolutions.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Namos Solutions at LinkedIn and Twitter.