Pros and Cons of the different implementation strategies

The 3 main implementation strategies that I have used over the years have been:

  1. Parallel Run
  2. Big Bang
  3. Phased Approach

Proactively evaluating and selecting the appropriate ERP implementation strategy that fits your business and your individual risk tolerance is vitally important and is as much an early decision gate as it is to select the correct ERP solution for your business.

Before you make your choice of the implementation strategy it is important to understand each and see how/where they can be used.

      Parallel Run: Using this strategy you as the client will use your new ERP system alongside your legacy application.

      Big Bang: Using this strategy the complete implementation happens in one single instance and all legacy application (if any) are cut out and all users move to the new system on an agreed upon day.

      Phased Approach: The cutover and adoption of the new ERP application happens in phases over an extended period of time and all users are migrated to the new system in an orchestrated series of steps.

I will list a few pros and cons /disadvantages that I have experienced during my implementations to help you make that decision.



Parallel Run:



Users have the ability to learn the new system while keeping their legacy environment as well. Highly expensive because users have invest additional time to maintain 2 systems
This is the least risky approach Can lead to employee turnover because they are now asked to repeat in the new system what they already do in the hold system
There is always a fall back available if new system is unacceptable. Executive commitment might be there at the onset but is almost lost when they are presented with the level-of-effort to conduct such an implementation


Big Bang:



Time to implement and rollout is short(er) You tend to miss the details in the haste to cutover quickly
The cost to implement is less(er) because implementation is not drawn-out The issues you might encounter are much bigger and fixing these can be costly
The complete cutover happens on a single day Your team will have a shorter time to learn the full scope of the application
  Any fallback plans are difficult to implement
  An issue in one part of the software can have a wider implication when using this strategy


Phased Approach:



Users gain early process and software knowledge now that they can use in the subsequent phases. Project duration for full implementation is long
Issues with one phase only affect a small area of the business If you are on a tight/limited budget this can prove costly.
The adoption rate is slow and steady unlink in the big band ERP depends on various integrated modules for its data. If you phase a critical module for later implementation then you will have to build some workaround to supply the critical information to those modules that are already live.
The burden on the IT team is minimal in this approach Team can lose focus and need for urgency
Core project team can learn from the initial phases and use their new found knowledge for subsequent phases.  


Which ERP implementation strategy is best for me should be your next question. Well, the answer is never cut-and-dry and will require extensive evaluation using the pros and cons I have outlined here.

AMIT TRASI | Project Manager

Amit is responsible for institutionalizing project management governance at KTL to streamline ERP implementations. With over 15 years of technology experience as a software developer, project manager, and program manager, Amit has managed end-to-end ERP implementations with Dynamics NAV and GP as well as POS implementation with e-Commerce front end. He holds extensive experience deploying POS and ERP applications at non-profits, theme parks, and museums across the United States. Amit joined KTL in October of 2013 and holds an MBA in Information Systems as well as holding a Project Management Professional certificate.



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