In our first two posts on the steps needed for a successful ERP implementation, we introduced you to the first two phases—Initial and Planning, and Execution and Controlling—we introduced you to the best ways to lay the groundwork for change, how best to plan for a successful ERP implementation, and putting everything into practice.

So, now that the implementation has gone off without a hitch, the Closure Phase is the final stage of the project. 

You made it, so feel free to be ecstatic and relieved at the same time and to celebrate. Considering this project may have occupied several months of your organization’s time, it’s a great feeling to finally cross the finish line. 

But this is also the beginning of another phase—your users can now start to gain the confidence needed and to be able to work comfortably with your new ERP system. This is an ongoing phase that will assist in further training users, engaging them for feedback, and providing you and your implementation partner to provide post-go-live support. In absence of further support, your organization may not be able to enjoy the long-term benefits of your ERP implementation.

The key objectives of the Closure Phase include:

  • Closing project activities and confirming scope delivery.
  • Gaining full ownership of the finalized product.
  • Establishing a continuous improvement and support plan.

Once the implementation project is closed, it’s also time to reflect on the initial goals outlined in the first phase and identify what has been successful and what has failed and why. The three fundamental questions to be answered in this final phase are:

  • Where did we come from?
  • How did we get here?
  • Where are we going?

Ongoing support and maintenance

Fostering an environment where your new ERP system is accepted and used after deployment help to ensure your business benefits from all it has to offer. Responsibilities will still be shouldered by your project team, but much of the focus will now shift to supporting users—soliciting their feedback and making modifications to the ERP system where needed. Ongoing training for both current and new employees, installing updates, and upgrading hardware over time—for both on-premise and cloud—will also be important.  

Instilling a continuous improvement protocol for your new ERP system will assist in achieving the fundamental aspects of your business and provide a solid foundation for the future of your organization and the ERP.

A checklist for continued success

Hooray! Your brand new ERP system is now live and you’re ready to get back to your regular, day-to-day operations. Well, let’s put the brakes on that one for a second and consider a few things. 

It’s taken several months to implement your new system, so now that it’s live, you need to continue planning to ensure everything continues to run as smoothly as anticipated. Time during the post-implementation period will also need to be devoted to protecting your technology investment–the amount of time may be similar to the implementation period itself, but it will not be as resource intensive. 

Consider the following:

  • Conduct a post-mortem review of the project and establish what went right, what went wrong, and what you might want to change.
  • Create a post-implementation strategy that will ease the short-term transition post go-live and assist you with getting the most out of your ERP system during the long-term.
  • Establish ongoing training initiatives for current and new employees. 
  • Dedicate several months post-implementation to managing the solution—include members of your ERP project team.

It’s easy to get absorbed by the enthusiasm of completing a major project like an ERP implementation. But it’s important to understand that, while the new system will meet your needs, the journey has just begun. You may experience a few hiccups along the way, which are expected—the absence of a roadmap for the future, technical issues, and unanticipated costs can make the journey a bit riskier. 

With a great team by your side, your successful implementation can continue to be positive doing a few things: 

  • Ensure continued support from senior managers
  • Rinse data often and keep it clean
  • Zoom, zoom! Take your new ERP for a test drive
  • Then test again and repeat
  • Turn users into experts and devote time for training
  • The organization is adopting and adapting for the better
  • Consistently evaluate the success of ERP
  • Stay optimistic
  • Stay the course especially over time

To help you understand and learn more about the Closure Phase and how to improve your ERP implementation, download our complete guide or drop us a line, so we can discuss your needs further. 

About the Author

Irenae Jacobs