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Cloud Readiness: Put Your Own Mask on First and Other Tips from the Flight Deck

As every pilot knows, preflight checklists are essential, and when performed properly, everyone benefits. They help pilots plan and ensure safety and success. They help crew and passengers have a seamless and safe experience. For ERP implementations, a preflight checklist can ensure the right system is selected and that the organization is prepared for implementation and sustainable success. A pre-implementation checklist provides informed insight, action items and necessary steps for different teams in the organization.

Digital transformation is an essential part of future strategy for airports and other organizations seeking to improve operational efficiencies and experiences. There are several airlines and airports that have paved the way as digital transformation leaders, contributing use cases and best practices to support other’s success. Considering a new ERP? Here is a preflight checklist from real world transformations that you can use to ensure a smooth journey:

Getting off the Ground

wing-airplane-flying-sea-islandBefore you take off, a flight plan is key. A flight plan provides a frame of reference for where you’re coming from and where you are going. When considering a new ERP, look at current systems and processes and what your goals will be moving forward. Because cloud ERP is a large investment, don’t just look at how current operations can be moved to a new system, but how processes can be improved. Similarly, taking the time to clean your data will help avoid the garbage-in syndrome and give your team accurate, useful information for people, processes, and systems.

System selection is complex and getting it right is the foundation for long-term success. CIOs need to look at their current technology footprint and ask themselves hard questions, such as, are we prepared to move to the cloud? How can we ensure the system meets the greater business needs? What needs to happen so our implementation is a success and does not exceed the budget? Will the application fit with our other solutions in the network? What are the functionalities most important to our users? What is a necessity versus nice to have?

From here, researching vendors, roadmaps, and determining what will align with current and future goals is part of the planning process. For example, would you benefit from industry-specific software? Consider if the vendor can be flexible in migration options. Organizations with many disconnected, legacy software systems may find it easier to move to a single on-premise or hybrid system, with a future goal to lift and shift to a cloud environment. Understanding the gaps and where there is an opportunity to scale can ensure the solution supports the current needs of the business as well as the future vision.

Enlist the Right Crew

successful-happy-business-teamMost of the project emphasis is typically on the technology itself. Often the people of the organization, the ones that will be using the system and driving ROI, are not considered during the decision-making process. Successful project teams contain employees that know the business, support the vision for the future, and understand how the system works. Employees that understand the need for change and are empowered with information will be advocates to drive adoption for the rest of the organization, including leadership who will drive support for the initiative. Establishing the right team early in the planning stages and keeping them involved as the project advances is critical. These team members will be your main project ambassadors to help encourage company-wide acceptance.

Prepare Your Passengers

Transparency is crucial in large-scale implementation projects. The mere rumor of technology, process, or any change can have negative impacts on performance and productivity when not communicated correctly. People are creatures of habit and naturally resistant to change, so it is important to communicate early and often, to explain why the move is taking place, and how it will benefit both the individual and the organization.

Including change management in your ERP project from the start will allow for increased user adoption and overall project success. It is important to use a structured approach to manage the people-related elements of change. This can be accomplished through a blend of change impact assessments, readiness monitoring, leadership alignment activities, stakeholder engagement, ongoing communications, workforce transition preparation, training, and sustainment actions. Change management helps employees who will be impacted by the change to be ready, willing, and able to make the shift and adopt new ways of working.

Flying high in a competitive industry requires the right people, processes, and technology. Having a preflight checklist to refine the project plan and implementation is a key to successful cloud migration. Whether you’re preparing for take-off or in the early stages of planning your flight, make your checklist and follow it.

Diane Effinger is director of business development at Avaap. Diane has more than 10 years of experience helping organizations find technology solutions to solve their toughest challenges.