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10 Questions to Mitigate Risk in a Global System Deployment

A global system deployment is a large undertaking requiring precision planning and coordination across a multitude of people, systems, and sites. The benefits of such a complex endeavor include cost savings, harmonization, greater consistency, improved cycle times, and reduction of errors.

To mitigate execution risk, companies will often use an iterative approach by adding new users and deploying functionality in phases. In doing so, it’s often necessary to make enhancements, upgrades, or bug fixes during system deployment in the form of releases. Like the global deployment itself, these releases are complex and require careful planning. Deliberate considerations to the timing and approach are imperative to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of your system.

With experience deploying global systems for some of the largest businesses in the life sciences and consumer products industries, we’ve compiled a few of the critical considerations around timing, configuration and process alignment, and communication and support.

System Deployment Timing

  • Does the release schedule take into consideration the timeline of individual deployments to ensure they align and cause the least disruption to configuration, testing, and migration activities?
  • Does the install schedule and potential downtime account for the various time zones impacted by the release?
  • Does the release timing account for training material updates, training delivery, and if required, training material translations?
  • Is there contingency built into the local deployment plans to accommodate for any delays in the global release schedule and contingency in the global release schedule to account for local delays?

Configuration and Process Alignment

  • Does each location’s local configuration account for any new functionality included in the release?
  • When releases include technical updates, how are impacts to actively deploying sites assessed?
  • How will deploying sites be aligned to new global processes included in a release? How will already-live locations align?

Communication and Support

  • Is the team structure and assignments across your core organization and the sites conducive to providing adequate support pre- and post-go-live?
  • Have clear and continuous communication channels between the global team and the deployment teams been established?
  • How will new requirements raised by deploying sites be communicated, vetted and incorporated into the release schedule? Does this process allow for balancing of global priorities with individual site needs?

Determining the answers to these questions and establishing the relevant processes and procedures will mitigate any potential risks to help ensure your system can effectively and continuously improve through a global rollout.

Has your organization recently undergone a global system deployment? How did your business navigate additional releases? We have experience implementing systems for the world’s leading life sciences and consumer products companies. Our team of consultants have deployed global systems covering nearly every functional area of business, including ERP, LIMS, quality systems, and more. To learn more about our experience and perspectives, subscribe to our insights below or feel free to reach out to me using the contact information at the top of this page.

Co-author and contributions by: Irene Lewis

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Tags: Project & Program Management, SAP, Services