A combination of better products, time-to-market urgency, and thin in-house technical skills ensures that mainstream firms will embrace packaged ERP software. It’s important to note that each ERP application suite has its own architecture, customization features, installation procedures, and level of complexity. Therefore, you can never approach the installation of all ERP packages in the same manner.
Take, for instance, SAP. Companies implementing SAP use a variety of implementation strategies:
- A step-by-step approach, in which one SAP module at a time is installed, tested, and integrated with other systems.
- A “big bang” technique, sweeping away all old systems at once and replacing them with SAP.
- A “modified big bang” approach, in which various modules are implemented at one time, piloting them in one area of the company and then extending the program throughout the firm. Most companies use this method.
Let’s look at the implementation methodology phases.
- In the project preparation phase, the project kickoff is organized and all the arrangements for the project team are made. This phase also includes the estimation of project resources, costs, and duration of each activity.
- During the blueprint phase, the consultants document the requirements of the enterprise and its business process design, including interviewing potential users.
- In the pilot phase, the software is configured to match the structure of the company with the desired business processes. The technical team members plan the interfaces and data integration infrastructure of the new system.
- In the final phase, all the work from the previous phases is consolidated, with the goal of preparing the system for final acceptance. This phase covers the final system test, user training, and final migration of the data to the new system. Moreover, all the conversion and interface programs are verified, as is the scalability of the system. Finally, the user acceptance tests are run.
- The assessment phase reviews the system to ensure that all business requirements were met. This includes checking the business processes and technical architecture are well as checking with the end users, assuring that their expectations were met. Finally, the business benefits of the new system are measured, allowing the company to determine the ultimate return on investment.