No matter what solution a company chooses, installing new ERP software can be filled with risk. Even when using a Microsoft Dynamics implementation, the sheer scope of the platform means that many departments are being covered under one system. Switching over is no easy task, and there are various ways of going about the task. Some companies prefer the speed of the "big bang" approach, while others like the steadier phased rollout method. However, both have their own risk factors. One alternative takes these approaches and eliminates the uncertain elements. This parallel adoption method may be ideal for companies that aren't quite ready to commit to a change, while still benefiting from the new ERP software.

Running together before splitting
Parallel adoption is similar to a big bang and phased rollout. The software is quickly installed, and the departments can switch over to the system in stages if they wish. However, what makes this method distinct is that, rather than removing the legacy system after the new platform is installed, it stays active until the company is ready to stop using it.

Until then, the old software would be ideal as either a backup or primary system, depending on the phase the implementation project is in. The dynamics and strategy related to parallel adoption are quite different from a phased rollout or big bang approach. For example, instead of training one department at a time or spending weeks teaching staffers how to use the new timekeeping software module before launching, the company can still use the old software until all employees have learned the new platform. In addition, the business can work out kinks and bugs while keeping business operations running normally.

Low risk, high cost
The main benefit of parallel adoption is that it is the least risky method of implementing Dynamics NAV and other ERP solutions. Because the legacy system is still operational, disruptions are kept to a minimum. When the changeover is complete, customers will barely notice a difference in service. More importantly, in the event of a failure in the software, the fallback plan becomes easy in that the company simply uninstalls the software and goes back to the original system. Change management is also mitigated, in that employees won't feel like this new platform has been pushed on them completely.

However, this method has some severe drawbacks. The greatest disadvantage of parallel adoption is the price tag. Not only do companies have to pay for the implementation and maintenance of the new ERP software, but they also have to maintain the upkeep of the old system. Companies on a budget may find this method to be unaffordable. Along with cost, data issues arise in that any new information input into one system must be duplicated in the other to maintain normal operations. That can lead to data entry errors as well as inefficiencies in certain business processes such as fulfillment in the warehouse management system.

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