Our client, an international multi-technical Services businesses, had been running their primary ERP on a server that had reached end of life several years prior. Various attempts had been made to initiate a server replacement project, over several years, but had never eventuated. Each time the idea was broached, internal IT staff became very nervous about the effort and complexity involved, and the project was always shelved. Part of the complexity was due to the addition, over time, of various undocumented connections between the ERP server and other devices or software systems. With the introduction of a new CIO and continual hardware failures, the server replacement project became a critical task. We were engaged to help shepherd the internal IT team through the process, as well as to provide expertise and insight around key tasks and provide project and testing task-lists.
- The project was kicked-off by a planning session with the ERP vendor. We attended this meeting, requested by the business, to ensure information provided was clarified and “translated” between the vendor and the business. We watched for gaps in the discussion, both technical and operational, raising additional questions or discussion points as needed. The primary aim of the meeting was to ensure business technical staff obtained the information they needed to both build the new server optimally, as well as provide communication protocols acceptable to the vendor and software. The secondary aim was to use items raised in the meeting as the basis for a project task list.
- We then developed a first pass project plan for the business for the internal project team to use. When the expected internal resistance to the project arose, we were then asked to step in the help “push the project through”.
- Once the hardware build had commenced, we split the project plan into three separate plans – an overall project plan, an internal testing plan and a go live/cutover task list. As relevant requirements were discovered, they were progressively added to the go live/cutover task list throughout the process.
- As the testing cycle began, we provided expertise and assistance to both make sure testing occurred to the required level of detail, as well as resolving any questions.
- During the testing process, we worked with the project team attempted to identify, document and test all the “undocumented” external system connections. There was a high level of resistance to this process and an unwillingness to look at the detail required for each situation. However, it was a critical part of the project.
- After successful resolution of testing, we worked with the business to finalise the specific detail of the cutover task list, down to determining timing and tasks. We encouraged several “practice runs” of the cutover process and worked with staff to flesh out detail further, as needed.
- On the weekend of the cutover we were part of the extended team, available to provide assistance or resolve issues, as needed.
- After several years of failed attempts, the ERP server replacement project finally occurred. The timeline took slightly longer than the hoped for six months, due to delays in internal testing, but the new server did go live.
- The cutover weekend occurred with no critical, project-stopping issues.
- Any issues discovered post go live were due to undiscovered external system connections. These were amended and documented as they arose.
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