Prepare the transition to operation early in the project and minimise the risk of ending up with a poorly anchored solution that doesn’t work as intended.
In the middle of a major IT project, it’s easy to overlook how crucial it is to plan the transition to operation and the new ways of working. Especially at the beginning of the project, when the operation of actually using the solution may seem like a distant, less important issue.
“But it’s then – when the project kicks off – that you should start preparing for the day when the project team leave and the support team takes over,” said Bonnie Kærsgaard Lund, Transition Manager at Columbus.
“As the go-live day approaches, it’s too late to think about how to operate the solution, and whether every aspect is ready and meets current requirements. If you don’t have 100% control of the transition, there’s a big risk that the business will gain significantly less value from the investment and efforts,” she said.
Messy transition = much less value
Before joining Columbus, Bonnie was personally involved in a range of project processes. In many cases she felt the all too tangible pressure that kicks in when the project peaks, resulting in the planning of the transitional phase being sacrificed.
“If the transitional phase gets rushed and isn’t up to par, the moment the project team leave, the solution will fall down. The care and preparation involved in transition management can prevent such a situation,” she explained.
That’s why it’s key to ensure the transition phase is as robust and in depth as possible.
“A well planned, methodically based and properly executed transition phase benefits those who will be working with the solution once it is up and running. In addition, the transparency in the start-up phase, benefits the company’s operations and finances as a whole,” said Bonnie.
What, when and how?
Ultimately, the planning of the transition phase boils down to three questions: What is to be operated? When will it be operated? And finally: How will it be operated?
“Granted, this is a bit simplistic and may sound obvious. And, of course, there are many more elements involved. But these three questions form the basis when Columbus works on the transition from project methodology to operating methodology,” said Bonnie.
“All things considered; the two methodologies are quite different. For example, when it comes to operating methodology, you must consider the efficient management of unforeseen operational incidents and the planning of all necessary services.”
These considerations help lay the foundation during a transition process that will ensure predictability for the organisation, security for the end-users and transparency in terms of cost level. What’s more, this doesn’t only apply to complex businesses and solutions. A well-run transition, planned early on, also increases the value, because it supports completion of the project and its goals.
Nor should you overlook the value of ensuring stability of the business processes from day one. In this context, consolidation, transfer of knowledge about critical processes, deviations from the standard solution, wishes and understanding “outstanding matters” are absolutely crucial.
Retain important knowledge so the value does not disappear
“There should also be some overlap between the project team and the operations team. This makes it much easier to ensure an efficient, comprehensive transfer of all knowledge and documentation,” said Bonnie. It’s also crucial to ensure that all stakeholders are adequately trained: not only the company’s operations team, but also the end-users who will be using the solution.
“As a company, you must make demands on your provider to ensure that training is provided by those who will be in charge of the external operation. Even though the external operation may be in the hands of the same provider, the individuals concerned are often different,” she said.
“If you don’t plan operation in accordance with today’s standards, if you give training low priority and don’t transfer knowledge, the company will be left with a ‘very expensive, big, black box,’ which neither super users nor operating partners know much about. Even though ultimately you can always solve any challenge, it can end up being a significant extra cost for the company in the form of delivery delays, payment delays, downtime or some other major unforeseen event that could have been averted during a transition phase.”
Life after go-live
After months of planning, go-live day is approaching and you're finally ready to launch Microsoft Dynamics 365. The transition to your newly optimised workday is just around the corner and you can't wait to get started.
Often the tendency is to concentrate on implementing and launching the solution, what happens post go-live is often overlooked.
So what do you do when the project team leaves? And how do you make sure your new platform will get off to a secure start?
Click below to view our eBook and learn how to live happily ever after with Dynamics 365.