Soft Launch (Gradual Rollout) Go Live Strategy

Overview

A soft launch (or gradual rollout) is an optional step that involves setting up the new site at a pilot domain name / URL (i.e. https://pilot.yourcompany.com) and inviting part of your workers and customers to use it in a series of one (1) or more “live beta” rollout waves.  You will have two (2) live platforms during this step (your current classic platform that you are replacing + your new CIMcloud platform).  This gradual rollout strategy requires additional support and fees, but can be well worth the small investment in risk mitigation.

Should I Use This Strategy?

It is the highly recommended rollout strategy to de-risk your go live if your classic platform (that you are replacing) meets any of these four criteria: 1) high traffic / volume, 2) highly business critical (represents 30% or more of your revenue), 3) has a large volume or complex custom modifications, or 4) have a large quantity or complex add-on bundles in use.

If you have questions as to whether or not you should take this step, you should probably take it.  If you still have questions, you can contact CIMcloud for additional input / recommendations to consider.

Typical Steps In the Process

This includes a walk-though of the typical steps involved in this gradual roll-out strategy.  You can easily vary your specific implementation of this strategy by 1) adjusting the number of waves you go through, and 2) adjusting the number of workers and/or customers you include in each wave.  Note: It is important to

  • Step 1: Plan The Soft Launch
    • Determine how many live beta testing waves your will have (2 or 3 is most typical).
    • Determine who will be invites to participate in each wave.
    • The below steps are based on 3 waves:
      • Wave 1 = Make Your Workers (typically sales or customer service reps) Use It
      • Wave 2 = Invite A Select List of Customers
      • Wave 3 = Add a “Try Our New Platform (Beta Test)” Link/Banner to Your Classic Platform
    • The goal is to get 20 to 50+ live orders (or other workflows / transactions) per wave.
    • Each wave includes the following steps.
      • 1: Invite The Users
        • Invite the users and let them know this is a beta test of the new platform.
        • Tell them the orders / stuff they do is live / will get fulfilled.
      • 2: Ask For Feedback
        • Ask them to provide feedback (good or bad) so you can get it addressed.
        • Be sure to set the expectation that this is a pre-launch stage and you are expecting feedback asking them to help you identify an gaps or issues so you can address them (empower them to be part of the team that is going to help insure the platform is go live ready).
      • 3: Collect Feedback
        • Have someone collect, compile, and send the feedback / actions to your team (the Project Manager and Program Manager can decide on whether or not the feedback if actionable + what the priority / urgency is to address it before your full Go Live).
      • 4: Assign Tasks from the Feedback
        • Your Project Manager should then insure the feedback actions are assigned to appropriate parties (this may be some combination of 1) your in-house implementers for product / content / settings work, 2) CIMcloud implementation support for any questions or issues, 3) CIM Pro Services for anything related to customizations).
      • 5: Test & Verify The Tasks Were Complete
        • Test all action items / punchlist items to verify they were addressed.
      • 6: Update The Beta Users on Changes / Tasks Completed
        • This can be done in bulk or individually.
        • This lets them know their feedback was considered and actions were taken.
  • Step 2: Coordinate the Soft Launch
    • Task: Verify that CIMcloud is Aware of Your Soft Launch Plan & Date/Time
  • Step 3: Set Up The Pilot URL
    • Task: Set Up a Sub-domain (i.e. https://pilot.yourcompany.com) for Your New Platform
    • Task: Coordinate the Sub-domain & SSL Setup with CIMcloud
    • Task: Test the Sub-domain To Verify It is Working
  • Step 4: Complete Wave 1
  • Step 5: Complete Wave 2
  • Step 6: Complete Wave 3 (if applicable)
  • Step 7: Move to The Live Cutover

An Option To Further De-Risk The Live Cutover

In some cases, CIMcloud clients who use the soft launch approach above also decide to further de-risk their live cutover by taking these additional steps at go live.

  • Move your classic platform (that is being replaced) to sub-domain like https://classic.yourdomain.com
  • Move the live URL/domain name to the new platform
  • Adding a notice/link/banner on the new CIMcloud platform that says something like
    • Beta: You are using our new platform.  We welcome any feedback.  If you are running into issues, you can still access our old platform until <enter date here> by clicking here.”

This tactic allows you to do the full live cutover of you normal domain name / URL, but still gives a back-door for customers to use the old / classic site.

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