Streamline Software Implementations with Tailored Industry Deployment Models Part 1 of 4 from an Epicor White Paper
- 4 March 2015
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While the technology and capabilities of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems continue to expand exponentially—now offering social enterprise solutions, device-independent access, cloud-based solutions and a host of other powerful tools—the fact remains that every ERP system requires an implementation phase. ERP implementations are costly, time consuming, and can be extraordinarily disruptive to a business. It is crucial that ERP vendors deliver the finished system in a way that maximizes utilization of the new system’s features and functionality, while minimizing the upheaval in the organization. Guiding companies to the best solution based both on the ERP vendor’s experience and the organization’s specific know-how provides the right path to achieve the ROI target and other goals set when initiating the project.
At the beginning of an ERP implementation, companies are often challenged to “reimagine their business” and “think outside the box.” With the most imaginative ERP project teams, this can lead to fascinating brainstorming sessions and candid assessments of flaws in the current business process. Unfortunately, other project teams given this challenge will gaze stonily back at the team leader and say they see nothing wrong with the current state of affairs, having no time for this type of analysis.
Clearly communicating the rationale for undertaking a system change helps teams move through this exercise, as does acknowledging weaknesses with the current system and processes. However, it is very daunting to be faced with a completely blank slate. A lack of knowledge of the new system’s design, functionality, and capability, along with a lack of experience in doing business any other way than the current one, creates the potential for false implementation starts or an overly complex and customized end solution.
Cre8tive Technology & Design will be posting a 4-part series:
Part 1 Defining best practices
Part 2 Rapid implementation Kit and Industry Development Models
Part 3 Process Review and Dashboards to Manage Success
Part 4 Populated Databases and Enabling Users
Defining Success and Applying Best Practices
Historically, there is a significant rate of underachievement among ERP system implementations. For example, system integrator Panorama Consulting Solutions conducted a survey during 2012, collecting responses from 172 companies that had recently completed ERP implementations. The survey exposed the most typical reasons for underachievement: cost overruns, project duration overruns, and minimal usage of system features. However, few of the respondents were prepared to describe their implementation as a “failure.” But “successful” ERP projects should not be over budget, late, and without use of all of the features promised in the new system. Sadly, just having gone live at all sometimes becomes the definition of success, which leaves many of the improvements and changes to processes as yet-to-be-achieved dreams.
An area where there is clearly room for improvement is tapping the knowledge of the ERP vendor, who has previously completed implementations with many customers, in various industries. Rather than presenting countless options based on the flexibility and configurability of the ERP software, why not suggest the swiftest path to success, proven through experience? Instead of customizing the software to the organization’s current process, why not offer a map of proven best practices in the new software for those activities, and use these as the starting point for the business process conversation?
The completed “map” of the business processes, rooted in proven best practices, can then serve as the template for the remainder of the implementation. When it is time to execute individual proof of concept, the project team can turn to the business process flow diagrammed in the template to ensure that the proper steps and activities are proven for that segment of the business.
Later in the implementation, when the final user acceptance testing is done, the same template serves as a “script” for this exercise, ensuring that the entire business process flow, with all its branches and sub-procedures, is tested and accepted prior to go-live. Finally, the graphical business process model that has served as the template throughout the implementation provides a solid basis for end-user documentation of business activities in the new software. Easy-to-follow flowcharts and associated verbiage can be accessed either as written documents, or even as hyperlinks within the software help screens.
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.
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