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REAL ISSUES. REAL ANSWERS: Transitioning To New Business/POS Software

“No matter what system you go to, your new system is only as good as the original data you have input. Keep your inventory current and clean.”

“If your POS and A/P systems are separate, you’ll likely have a lot to learn and some things that are going to need changing.”

“Spend time upfront mapping your business processes and understanding how/if the new software will accommodate them. Avoid asking for modifications to off-the-shelf software to suit your business processes if at all possible. Modifications always add significant complexity to ERP deployments and are a long-term maintenance expense if the modification is not widely utilized by other software users.”

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“If you feel not prepared for the scheduled go live date…reschedule. Better to delay the date than go live without confidence. Accurate data conversion is key to a smooth transition and a positive start with the new system.”

“Plan, plan, plan. Ask detailed questions. Network with other dealers that are using the systems. Ask an expert if the software platform is current technology.”

“We just transitioned to a new system four months ago. Wow. Hindsight is 20/20. My staff didn’t complete the training correctly…from management to POS employees. Many questions would have been eliminated had we adequately trained and trouble shot prior to going live. I like the system, but still feel that the software was oversold a bit, and there are many issues I hope to clean up over the next few months.”

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“Make sure the implementation is staged.”

“Ensure the vendor offers onsite assistance and that you have a robust support contract.”

“We did our transition in 90 days. I would not recommend that, nor will our vendor allow that to happen again. Take your time with the implementation. Get it right before you go live. Satisfaction with our final result came a year later since we implemented so fast. You will always be tweaking and upgrading whatever platform you go with, but the end result for us today is great!”

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“Invest resources in planning the conversion. Make sure you train with your data—inventory SKUs, customer accounts, etc. We spent a year setting up our data to the new system, and four months training staff. Our ‘go live’ went perfect.”

“Our company just made the switch, I recommend that you take time to make sure everything converts over. We have had plenty of issues, but nothing that could not be fixed. Be patient.”

“Make sure only relevant information is transferred. Clean up all ‘old’ orders, PO’s and quotes. Make sure reports are run for everything with as much backup information as possible. Make sure unresolved problems are documented, and have a transfer plan for this information. Have trainers who not only know the new system, but the old system as well. And it is best to have those trainers be real life users (not computer or IT trainers) to insure communications of needs are understood. Be sure that reports are available on the new system that directly correspond to the old system reports and that the output of those reports, contain ‘correct’ and ‘true’ calculations. Provide readily available support after the ‘Go Live’ date. Track and share resolved issues or workarounds with previously converted locations. Should have an ‘expert’ for each line of business or job involved. If a process affects another, get both sides to agree on how they will handle going forward. Understand that some people have a hard time with change, and it will take extra effort and patience to deal with them as well as dealing with a system that is basically new to everyone.

“Stress levels will be high, so first and foremost, make sure your customers are taken care of quickly and efficiently, and that the system you choose is right for your business and your customer. If there are problems, address them right away. Or, if your people express concerns over the extended time it takes to do simple tasks, address that right away. Your customers won’t care or understand if you are holding them up because you decided to go high tech. Be proactive. Be engaged. Be involved. Listen and react.”

“There is no such thing as a smooth transition. Buckle up and prepare for Armageddon.”

“If possible, run both systems for six weeks and compare results daily. Seven weeks will get you through a month-end closeout. Have good backups available.”

“Well, we are in the same boat. We are in the process of transitioning ourselves. I’m sure I’ll have some good tips in November after we ‘go live’.”

“Know what you want and communicate it effectively. Don’t let them nickel and dime you. Train your staff (and budget for that training). A little work today will save a lot of work tomorrow.”

“A) Transition: If your software provider has a suggested transition plan, follow it. Train as much as you can before the new system is installed. Train, train, train. Set up a dedicated training room, and make employees take time out of their day and do specific training. Have a contest and prizes for meeting training goals. All before ‘go live.’ B) Satisfaction: This one is hard, because the software sales team can tell you anything and final product does not always match. Have a team of people go through the sales pitch with you to help ask questions you don’t think of and to provide another set of ears. Also visit other dealers who are using the current system, and make sure you are buying the latest operating system and not yesterday’s operating system.”

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