Posts Tagged ‘ERP Rollouts: Phases versus Big Bant’

big bang phasedClients often ask us our preferred method for rolling out their ERP implementation, otherwise known as ‘going live.’  While the answer varies by circumstance and client, our general response is: In phases, and as slowly as possible.

While this isn’t always possible, it’s often at least partly doable.  For instance, you can roll out a rather ‘general’ General Ledger (chart of accounts, basic financials, structural setups) and perhaps do Purchasing and Payables together at one predetermined Go Live date.  Then, you might later roll out, say, Receivables, including invoicing and shipping, along with Sales Orders.  Of course, that usually means a basic Inventory setup must be in place as well.

The point is, there are ways to do a phased rollout.  Still, arguments ensue as to whether Big Bang (rollout everything all at the same time) versus Phased is the way to go.  A recent article at the ERP blog site erpvar.com highlights this discussion, noting some Pros and Cons to each approach, which include:


Big Bang:

·      No one has to operate their business in two different computer systems

·      Everyone in the company moves forward on the same day.

·      Cuts out the ability for people to say, “Oh we’ll fix that issue after we convert fully”

·      Shorter implementation time

·      Pain and frustrations are condensed into one time period, not drawn out


·      High risk – a number of things can go wrong

·      More pronounced problems

·      Small details or issues can be overlooked in the rush

·      Sink or swim for employees when it comes to learning the new system

·      Testing can be tough prior to the implementation

·      Failures in one part of the system can cause problems and failures in others

·      Fall back plans do not always work out

·      Performance can decline after initial implementation as employees adjust to new system




·      Less risk

·      Employees learn as they go, there is no dip in performance after

·      More time for users to adapt to the new system

·      Not a sink or swim environment

·      Small details and issues can be fixed as you go

·      Skills and experience are gained with each step/phase; smoothes the process further along


·      Takes longer to be fully converted

·      Not as focused as the big bang

·      A state of continuous change can sometimes be disruptive

·      Can have missing information because each module relies on info from others, so in a transitional period there may be some gaps

·      Temporary bridges need to be made from old to new


Frankly, and having done both over 25 years, we’re strongly in the “Phased” camp, where the Pros we believe far outweigh the Cons.  Just ask us…

 (Illustration found at BSM.com and credited to lightbulbcartoon.com)

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