Critical in your decision is selecting good technology which:
- meets your key requirements (proven during organisational specific presentations),
- has a level of technology that offers flexibility (without all being about technology),
- is parameter driven to allow flexibility to meet your exact business requirements,
- is appropriate to the size of your organisation and
- is cost effective both from the outset and on an ongoing basis.
As a technology provider we chose Greentree because it met all of the above criteria and for us was the perfect choice for our customers.
Of course the word ‘puzzle’ with the word ‘jigsaw’ suggests that there is a little more to implementing an ERP software solution.
This includes the quality of the ERP supplier themselves, the quality of their implementation methodology and let’s not forget the ongoing support and the supplier’s ability to offer effective timely answers to your questions and problems.
All these things are critical to your success.
Outside of ‘does the product meet our requirements?’ the most frequently asked questions whilst demonstrating Greentree is around the implementation process.
So important in fact that we have a particular methodology that helps organisations through the long and winding road to success. At Kinetic we have branded our implementation process (a cut-down version of Prince II) and called it IMPACT.
I am limited in this article to go into every detail of the implementation process as there are many stages. Here are the stages laid out in high level:
However I want to summarise the key points to any good implementation process.
After the initial formalities a key step in any successful implementation is excellence in business analysis. What the client really needs and wants, a review of every single current and required business process. This should then be documented and agreed by both parties. This determines what is in scope and what is out of scope and provides a clear benchmark when a variation is required. This keeps both parties happy.
Bear in mind if you have undertaken an invitation to tender with a consultant, in general the document they produce is normally a high level requirements review and not detailed business analysis. Their job is to ensure they find the correct supplier to carry out effective business analysis unless you have otherwise asked them to produce this.
So once we know what the requirements truly are for the organisation we build a working prototype in Greentree containing all the key functionality from the business analysis document. This is then presented to the project team and the users are required to create a user acceptance plan to test this model to death. Whilst we provide skeleton plans it is essential that the client creates their own test plans as, ultimately, it is their system and must meet their requirements.
After the testing of the prototype is complete there may be a requirement to make some tweaks to the model and again these are tested once complete.
Once both parties have signed off on the prototype as the basis of moving forward with a successful approach to processes, alerts, authorisations, key reporting, etc this small model is then fleshed out with the clients data, in a test environment.
This test environment (of the full working future system) is what we get the luxury of training end users on. This provides us with a familiar environment (clients, projects and terminology they recognise, etc) to carry out end user training. This is the process when the knowledge of the project teams passes through to end users or in other words everyone understands their role and what they are required to do in the new system. It is critical this is done not too far in advance of going live so that the users don’t forget what they need to do.
It is worth noting that some training may need to be revisited to ensure the quality of the go live and user euphoria in the new shiny solution to their problems.
After being live for three or four months it is important to carry out a post implementation review of the systems to ensure user happiness is maintained and also that this is used a mopping up exercise for any misunderstanding of functionality or process.
All of this is of course underpinned by good project management throughout the project.
So to summarise:
- Documented business analysis of true requirements is critical
- Sign off at each stage (not moving forward to the next stage until this is happened! – We have five sign offs at each major stage in our implementation process – see above) this ensures everyone is happy!
- Test to death and then test again
- Ensure users are trained with enough time before going live but not so much time that everyone has forgotten. Remember you may find two or three end user training sessions beneficial to the ultimate success of your project
- Proper project management that underpins the whole process
Interestingly even in this day and age I still get asked if we should run in parallel with the old system. The answer is clearly NO. This is far too onerous on end users having to do their day job and enter into two different systems!
Remember Greentree is used by thousands of users worldwide so we know it works. Therefore if we have tested to death, had proper sign off and end user training we can step forward with our wonderful new integrated ERP software solution without fear.
If you are considering moving forward with a new ERP software solution speak to Kinetic today to discuss how we can help you implement Greentree in a painless, successful manner.
Scott Graham is one of the Directors of Kinetic Information Systems. He started his career in the UK as an accountant in practice and then industry. Scott has been in the software industry for over 18 years in the UK and over the past six years down under.
You can connect with Scott via his LinkedIn profile linkedin.com/in/scottgrahamkinetic