When developing a strategy for any ERP implementation, especially using solutions as robust as Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, how the software is installed and when endusers switch to it can make a significant difference. This is because the size and structure of companies vary dramatically. No single approach to integrating all the programs will work ideally for everyone. For midsized and larger enterprises that have operations in more than one location, the issue can be getting everyone on the new system takes time and carries a lot of risk. As a consequence, companies should consider looking into running a phased rollout for a Microsoft Dynamics implementation.

Keep on rolling
Phased rollouts work differently from another installation tactic  known as the "big bang." This strategy means that at first, only a few departments will have access to and switch over to the new software. Once implementation is completed on their end, more departments get switched over. This process repeats itself over a period of time until the entire company is completely on the new system. According to Software Advice, a source for reviews of ERP software, the phases can be done either by department, software module or location,. In the case of modules for a manufacturer, accounting could go first, followed by replacing the warehouse management system, after which the company can add the timekeeping software and so on.

In terms of actual installation, the phased rollout takes far longer than the big bang approach. However, when taking into account the additional planning required to install the software in one go, the amount of time it takes between the two strategies can be somewhat similar, depending on the size of the business. Still, on average, the implementation time that comes with going in phases is longer than the usual big bang strategy.

Phasing in and out
There are certainly some distinct advantages that come with the phased rollout strategy. For example, despite the period of time needed to complete the process, the rollout is less risky than the big bang approach. That's because the old system is still in place, allowing businesses to fall back on it in case the initial implementation fails. Of course, this particular back-up plan weakens as each new department and module is installed. At the same time, any adjustments that need to be made can be done without greatly impacting progress in the overall project.

However, there are several challenges that companies must deal with when using the phased rollout. For example, because it takes more time to complete it, it also costs more money, as noted by Panorama Consulting. Companies on a tight budget may need to allocate efficiently in order to make the implementation a success. In addition, because the legacy system is still being used in other parts of the company, there needs to be bridges that allow the two system to at least share data in a reasonable way. Finally, because the process goes on much longer, it may lack focus, causing it to drag on even longer. Choosing the phased rollout can be less risky, but time and money must be taken into consideration.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.