For any project, activities are broken down into pieces so that it is easy from Planning and control point of view. ERP project is not an exception. When the organization wants to go for ERP system implementation then they have to prepare an ERP implementation plan which is laid down against timeline which will help to know project duration and completion date (Which helps ERP project management). Also, Plan may need to adjust to accommodate the availability of key resources from the organization where ERP is implemented. There are a number of activities based on which milestones or stages can be decided. Here is the list of activities involved in ERP implementation process.
ERP implementation steps
Kick 0ff -
Kick off the first ever stage after the deal between implementation partner and organization is finalized. This is sort of official announcement that project has been started. This is generally a one-day meeting between implementation partner and organization in which following points discussed and addressed.
- Steering Committee members introduction to other members
- Project Plan discussion
- Scope of ERP modules implementation
- Introduction of team of ERP Consultants and Key users
- Cost associated with project
- Milestones in project
- Challenges/hurdles in project execution or completion. etc
As - Is -
This stage is started after kick-off and all the business process which customer wants to map in ERP are studied. Consultant discusses with the key user for the activities carried out in the business process along with inputs and outputs of the processes are noted down. Also, pain areas in the process are noted down (Generally in the case where the legacy system is replaced with new one) The As-Is document template is used for the same.The document also includes other details like name of Consultant and the Key user who are involved in the discussion, Approving Authority (PM from both Sides). The As-Is process must be signed off which is the indication of agreement on understanding between two parties on the process noted down and can act as a milestone to release the payment to implementation partner.
In this stage, the processes which are noted down in As-Is are mapped in the ERP software. For every activity of business process mentioned in As-Is document will be considered and information about how it will be handled in ERP is decided. These processes are simulated and finalized and documented. This may include activities which are carried outside the ERP.(Manual Activity). Also, Pain areas in the business process mentioned during the As-Is process are also addressed during this phase either by Work-Around or by suggesting a customization and this process is called as Gap-Analysis. Also, like As-Is Implementation partner needs to take the sign off for To-Be process and can act as payment milestone.In some cases, UAT (User Acceptance Testing) is required to get the sign-off.
Key User and End User Training -
This stage is very important as this is one of the phases on which success of the project depends. This is knowledge transfer phase.Implementation partner transfers the knowledge specific to the processes mapped in To-Be phase to key users. Further, key users are evaluated against the training given by conducting the examination. After this, Key user transfers knowledge to end users and end users are also evaluated against the training given.Sign off is needed for this phase.
ERP Software is the standard package which can be used by organizations from various sectors. The business carried out in the organization may not be exactly same as process flow in ERP. So some tweaks may be required so that ERP process flow can be same as customer needed. For this purpose, we need to do the customization. Customization may include System customization or report customization. It is suggested to discuss the issues or gaps (As per TO - BE document) with work around first. If it is can not be done at all then go for customizing ERP. Less customization is good as it facilitate more uptime and stability of ERP function.Sign off is needed to every individual customization.
CRP (Conference Room Piloting) -
This is a kind of mock drill which ensures that the process mapped in To-Be phase as well as training phase was effective and as per need. CRP is done in presence of Top management. In this process, a case study of order to cash cycle is taken and simulated in the test environment which ensures the co-ordination between departments and proper integration of various modules of ERP. Also, the document is prepared for Master data used, transaction done and it's result during CRP and for same sign off is taken.
Data Upload -
In this stage, the data which is required for transactions in ERP is uploaded. Data in the pre-defined template is collected from the various department is filtered as per need, validated and uploaded in ERP software. Generally, the input to users for the collection of data is an extract of data from legacy (Old ERP System) system. Data can be categorized into mainly Static and Dynamic data. Static data is one time maintained master data which acts as a pre-requisites for the transactions. Dynamic data is the data which changes continuously with time such as Purchase orders, Sales Orders. etc. In most of the cases, the data is uploaded in test server before uploading in the live environment.When the data is uploaded in the test server, transactions are carried out vigorously to make sure the accuracy of data and obstacles in the uploading process are noted down. This helps smooth uploading of accurate data in the live system.
Go-Live and Post Go-Live Support -
Go-Live is the step where the organization starts using a new ERP system for the transaction. For Go-Live, Cut-off needs to be taken. It means on a particular date transactions are stopped in the legacy system and recorded offline till the new system is available (Maybe a 2 to 3 days of the gap). Once the new system is up, all the transactions which are done offline are entered first in the new system and then a day to day transactions are posted. In most of the cases, after Go-Live, Implementation partner provides the support for a duration agreed in the agreement which is meant for the streamlining transactions in new ERP system.
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