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Article: System Startup - Part 1 of 5
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It was a day that many thought would live in infamy! There was much nervousness as the implemen­tation team, upper management and users waited in anticipation for the "throwing of the big switch." Flash cut is such a final thing. Would it all work as planned?

Cutover team members were in place at the 28 loca­tions worldwide preparing to handle any crisis that might arise. At mission control in Allentown, Pennsyl­vania, critical core team members were on 24-hour call. Core team members remaining on site had brought in food and sleeping bags in anticipation of any heroic ef­forts required to keep the business running in the event of a catastrophe. After over three years in the making, all our efforts were finally coming to a head. To the best of our knowledge, this would be the biggest flash cut of an Oracle Application Suite to date!

All held their breath as the switch was thrown. The old system went down. The new system came up. Ex­cept for a few minor glitches, the business ran as usual. For the most part, the thousands of employees at the 28 Lucent Technologies Microelectronics Division lo­cations worldwide went about their business oblivious to the fact that we had just replaced our legacy applica­tions with an Oracle-based solution. For all intents and purposes, this was a non-event. The business did not stop, the system did not crash and burn, and no cutover day heroics were required.

How were we able to pull off such a monumental event without so much as a ripple in our normal day-to-day business activities? This presentation will pro­vide highlights of steps taken by the project team to ensure a relatively seamless transition from the old sys­tem to the new system. Hopefully, lessons learned from our experiences will help others better plan and execute a successful ERP system implementation, making a sys­tem cutover uneventful.

PLANNING/EXECUTING A WORLDWIDE IMPLEMENTATION

Executive Team Makes Big Decision!

Early on in the planning process, the executive team was faced with the decision of how to best implement the new system functionality. There were numerous debates regarding flash cut verses phased cutover approaches. The team had to review not only the technical pros and cons of each approach, but also the impact each approach would have on our ability to grow and compete in the short and long term. After much churning, the executive team felt that a flash cut of the entire division would be the best all-around approach. The major reasons cited for this decision were the following:

     Minimizes dual maintenance of planning and financial systems.

     Provides worldwide standardization of systems and
business practices.

     Allows a worldwide view of production, inventories, financials, etc.

     Need to get off legacy systems (global limitations/
Y2K issues).

     Enhances a "one company" attitude (behavioral change).
 

From a total business viewpoint, a flash cut wouldallow us to increase our competitive advantage and growth potential in a much shorter period than a location-by-location phased approach.

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4  


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