When dealing with a production and sandbox environment in Acumatica, what’s the best practice to have your client up and ready to go on the first day of processing in the new system?
Tough question….and one which really does not have a definitive answer, but one in which I could speak through experience as to what has worked best for me and my team over here at MIBAR these past few years.
Recall when starting out on a new implementation the hours and hours of time spent translating your customer’s data files into Acumatica terminology when it came to their customers, vendors, items, and general ledger accounts….and then ask yourself before your Go Live with client, “do I really want to go through all of that pain, time permitting, once again during our Go Live weekend prep”?
For example, spaces in payments terms, shipping method character constraints, item/customer/vendor class special characters and character limitation constraints, phone #’s being in incorrect columns, email addresses being formatted poorly, zip codes dropping leading zeros, etc……all issues you went about fixing the first time around, but in no way, shape, or form do you want to go through that same process 6 months down the road when the customer supplies you with a brand new set of these same files!
For that reason, and also for the tremendous versality Acumatica affords us when it comes to extracting information out of our databases during their “SNAPSHOT” process, I would recommend proceeding as follows through the life cycle implementation for one of your new Acumatica system clients:
- Start off in Production environment, completing all set-ups in all modules based on conversations and questionnaires with client, and YES…going through a lot of long hours setting up all classes, payment terms, ship vias, F.O.B.’s, Work Centers, Attributes, Reason Codes, Lot/Serial Classes, User Accounts and New Roles, and Employee IDS…based off of files supplied by your clients, which obviously will need to be transposed from old system to new Acumatica terms as far as formatting is concerned.
- Take SNAPSHOT (Full) of production, then RESTORE over the Test Company/Sandbox.
- Only then perform the painstaking process of formatting all of the data your customer has supplied to you relating to their: customers, customer locations, vendors, vendor locations, items, bills of materials, and general ledger information….create your import scenarios, and import said data into your Test environment.
- At that point, you are ready to run thru User Acceptance Testing and Training in the Sandbox environment, and while you are in said environment, there will be constant tinkering with set-ups in modules based on end-user feedback, as well as new payment methods, warehouse bins, and ship vias and the like, that will need to take place…..and rather than needing to jump back and forth between the Live and Sandbox environment to make such changes, stay in Sandbox, as due to the way Acumatica allows us to perform Snapshots, covered in next steps, we will be fine staying in test environment to make changes we actually would like to see upon our Go Live date.
- Then finally, when you pick a time to cut-off all maintenance fixes/updates, set-ups, user account new roles and new end-users, updated customer/vendor/item information since when your client had given you their original files up until the week of Go Live in their old system….I would recommend creating a snapshot using the below parameters (assuming MFG is being used by said client)
***this is assuming you have imported “delta” information into the Sandbox since way back in the beginning of the project (new customers, vendors, and items since your client gave you their first data extraction)
6. The snapshot done in previous step should then be used to over-write your production environment (after backing up Production….just in case), where you will find that all of the test transactions your client’s end-users had created during training were left behind, and all of the customer, vendor, item, mfg, and G/L information comes into the Live environment, saving you a ton of time…and budget for your customers…..by-passing the need to re-evaluate and re-format entire new sets of data files supplied to you by your clients.
While it is true this methodology has some downside, such as preventing your customers from importing in “historical” Sales, G/L, and Purchasing information into their Live environment perhaps a week before Go Live, I truly believe the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks…despite the fact that the idea of over-laying a LIVE environment with a TEST one can get many raised eyebrows out there in the ERP consulting world.
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