Implementation Strategy for your new eCommerce Web Site

Implementation Strategy for your new eCommerce Web Site
February 11, 2015 Rob Abdul

OVERVIEW
In this case study, the Author shall look at significant issues involved in managing the changeover from your old system to your new e-enabled system. Dave Chaffey, (2002) explains that there are two choices when implementing a new e-business system:

1. Firstly, an organisation may fully test their system in a controlled environment before it goes live which shall eliminate the risk of bad publicity if there are problems with the site.

2. Secondly, an organisation can carry out what is known as the “soft launch”. With the soft launch method, after initial testing of the system, it is tested in a live environment where Customers may use it.

CHALLENGE
The challenge in this case study is to answer the following questions:
What are the various implementation methods and which will suit your organisation best?

Implementation Methods
There are alternative methods of implementation that are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1 Advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of implementation

Method Main Advantages Main Disadvantages
1. Immediate cutover
Straight from old system to new system on a single date
Rapid, low cost High risk. Major disruption if serious errors with the system
2. Parallel running
Old system and new system run side-by-side for a period
Low risk than immediate cutover Slower and higher cost than immediate cutover
3. Phased Implementation
Different modules of the system are introduced sequentially
Good compromise between methods 1 and 2 Difficult to achieve due to interdependencies between modules
4. Pilot System
Trial implementation occurs before widespread deployment
Essential for multinational or national rollouts Has to be used in combination with the other methods.

(Bocij et al, 1999)

SOLUTIONS – Exploring the feasibility of implementation methods
Table 1, shows that there are four different methods of implementation

1. Immediate cutover. (commonly referred to as the cold turkey)
Your business runs the risk of stirring significant resistance from your Employees who in the Author’s opinion, will most likely resist to such a radical change.

2. Parallel running
Parallel implementation compared to the cold turkey method if more expensive and slower. Parallel implementation will require the Employees to work with their current system as well as taking on the extra load of the new system. This will undoubtedly cause problems with Management and Employees. Employees may expect an increase in their pay packet to reflect the increase in their workload. Costs are higher for this method than the cutover method and any increase in pay packet is not a possibility.

3. Phased Implementation
The phased implementation method enables you to break your project in to smaller milestones. For example you might plan to launch your new website first without the online shop as a no frills version and later implement the advanced features.

4. Pilot system
The pilot system of implementation involves the new system being fully implemented for a short period to establish any problems with the system. In the Author’s opinion, whichever method of implementation is deployed it will add an extra load to the current work load for the Employees. In the Author’s opinion, the method of implementation should cause the least amount of cost and time. Cut-over is too dramatic and does not allow for the Employees enough time to allow the change to sink in. Parallel method is too expensive and puts too much load on the Employees. It’s unrealistic to ask the Employees to do more than their normal workload. The Phased method is only viable if there are no interdependencies of each module of the new system.

Rob Abdul
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