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Date Created: 11/06/15
Implementation is arguably the most crucial and difficult stage of any ERP development project An organization s transition between legacy and enterprise systems can proceed smoothly according to plan or result in the disastrous consequences of an undefined approach Jackson Laboratories ERP success story stands testament to the value of an established strategy a project which lead to improved profits and various tangible measures of success the end goals of every ERP implementation Increased efficiency customer base growth and improved business processes can all be quantified through the use of performance metrics when appropriately employed both before and after deployment These attributes in concert with the final aspect of a formal change control policy can lead to a successful and profitable ERP implementation benefitting users stakeholders analysts and vendors alike 1 Implementation 4 points Discuss which specific methods for implementation can be used at the enterprise level In general there are currently three basic ERP implementation methods in use bigbang phased rollout and parallel adoption The decision of which strategy to use heavily depends on an organization s budget and timetable its IT department s level of experience with enterprise level implementation and the specific goals and objectives set forth at the outset of a project The use of a vague nonspecific ERP implementation plan can doom a project before it truly begins acting as a root cause for missed deadlines overspending and overall lack of functionality According to the Journal of Information Technology Management those ERP implementation projects that operate without a clearly defined strategy are often completed 200 late and more than 170 over budget Barki Oktamis amp Pisonneault 2005 p1 After countless studies and statistics most experts agree that there is no single one size fits all technique for a successful ERP implementation Instead stakeholders and analysts must select an established strategy that aligns with their own specific goals and objectives and one which is compatible with their chosen product The fastest and riskiest implementation method is known as the big bang approach a process in which deployment occurs in a single golive event with all users switching to the new system on a prespecified date With this strategy a business must perform meticulous preparation before the golive event since their old legacy system will effectively become abandoned once the new system is online The advantages of a big bang approach include a rapid deployment reduced cost of transition and the compartmentalization of major support issues as the transition happens in a short amount of time thus minimizing the period of growing pains associated with an enterpriselevel deployment That being said the big bang implementation approach brings with it certain drawbacks such as an elevated level of risk after golive it is costly and tedious to roll back to legacy systems less time for user training and the difficulties of fully testing a system before such rapid deployment In light of the potential pitfalls associated with a big bang style implementation many organizations choose the phased rollout approach in which the new software transition process happens gradually over a series of predetermined stages instead of occurring all at once Phased rollout can be employed by module each ERP module is implemented one at a time starting with core business functions by business unit system is implemented by department ie Accounting then Human Resources etc or by geography for large organizations one location at a time depending on the organization s business architecture The advantages achieved by a phased rollout include more time for users to learn and adapt to the new system the increased ability for an IT department to focus on individual problem areas during deployment and the experience gained by project members during each successive phase which is applied during later stages of implementation There are some downsides involved with phased rollouts however such as the extended period of disruption for the organization protracted state of change during implementation the fact that each phase completed makes it harder to roll back to legacy systems if necessary and the need for temporary bridges between systems during the transition phase The third implementation option is known as parallel adoption an infrequently used methodology in which both legacy and ERP systems are kept online throughout the transition process Neal 2010 Survey Results There is less risk involved with parallel adoption but it is very costly and requires users to double handle data they have to enter it twice once into each system which is time consuming and ultimately counterproductive As previously stated there is no single ideal implementation strategy that works for every ERP adopter Selecting a method of approach is a subjective process that demands close cooperation between stakeholders developers and consultants The goal for all involved is to settle upon a well defined implementation methodology that aligns with the client s goals budget and schedule ensuring a smoother transition between software systems 2 Implementation process 4 points Provide an example of a welldefined implementation process A telling example of a welldefined successful ERP implementation project is the case of Jackson Laboratories a notforprofit nongovernmental genetic research lab that made the transition from legacy systems to Oracle enterprise software in 20012002 Prior to development Jackson sought a fixedfee contract with Oracle and bought a surety bond a kind of insurance policy for large corporate risks that guaranteed contractual obligations would be met by the vendor Oracle or else Jackson would recoup their losses through the bond Motiwalla amp Thompson 2009 After choosing an integrated software suite from Oracle Jackson Labs began modifying their business processes to match the new system but also chose to have the ERP re configured slightly to work with their specific laboratory environment When it came time to deploy Jackson chose a phasedimplementation approach rather than big bang methodology which allowed the laboratory to make the software transition in two successive stages instead of all at once Motiwalla amp Thompson 2009 Jackson Labs first phase included production management accounting and purchasing modules while the second covered process management HR payroll labor distribution and grant filing features Motiwalla amp Thompson 2009 p 86 Even after struggling with personnel issues Jackson s best IT employees became so involved with implementation that daytoday business was nearly left unattended and unexpected training expenses the Jackson Laboratories Oracle ERP implementation was completed slightly over budget and a mere sixmonths past deadline both hallmarks of an immensely successful enterprise deployment process 3 Implementation benefits 4 points Discuss the benefits from a welldefined process for this implementation Thorough planning proved to be a critical success factor in the Jackson Labs case all starting with their decision to pursue a atrate contract with Oracle rather than the industry standard timeandmaterials agreement coupled with the eventual purchase of the third party surety bond This collective strategy shielded Jackson from completely obliterating their budget when their IT department had to work overtime to solve technological and training issues during the project a serious consequence that would have accompanied the timeandmaterials contract By selecting a phased rollout Jackson again chose wisely as this approach allowed them the time needed to significantly alter their business processes to suit the new system The dualphased approach also helped the organization to mitigate the added time spent training users as much of the learning curve occurred in lockstep with the modular implementation The extra effort put forth by Jackson Laboratories while crafting their deployment strategy paid off in dividends by the end of their ERP project The organization reduced cost increased efficiency and gained valuable experience over the twoyear span of their implementation becoming a model of success for future software adopters to follow 4 Metrics 4 points Provide an example of some of the metrics that can be applied to measure the effectiveness of the implementation Calculating the return on investment ROI of an enterpriselevel software implementation can be difficult if performance metrics aren t established in the early phases of a project Although these measures will vary from business to business there are several common metrics that can help an organization quantify the success or failure of its recent deployment Improved efficiency in individual business processes an uptick in new customers general revenue growth and increased margins are each indicative of improved profitability after an ERP implementation Graham 2013 To thoroughly gauge the ROI of a project its total cost must be accurately calculated and baseline metrics must be established in each of the areas the business hopes to measure such as sales inventory and number of customers all recorded before implementation occurs This allows the organization to get a clearer before and after picture of its overall numbers helping to produce a tangible measure of the success of an ERP project 5 Change control 4 points Describe how a change control process can be a part of a systems implementation Over the course of an enterpriselevel software implementation development teams will inevitably encounter events that trigger the need to make changes to a project s scope System changes are not to be taken lightly and must be approached using a formal strategy known as change control Change control is comprised of prespecified policies and controls that enable a team to carefully modify the scope of their project when the need arises Carman 2013 para 3 To achieve this a change control document should be implemented consisting of a description of the issue at hand the available options for a solution or workaround along with a timeframe and budgetary considerations This document should then be submitted to a chosen individual or group in charge of change management who then renders a final decision Depending on the size of an organization this responsibility may lie with the Project Manager PM a Change Control Lead or in some cases a full Change Control Committee Either way a formal change control strategy ensures the proper handling of scope changes during the implementation pI39OCCSS As demonstrated ERP software implementation is a tenuous collective effort that demands the use of an established methodology to achieve overall success This need is illustrated by the case of Jackson Laboratories documented transition between legacy and enterprise systems at the turn of the 21st century which emphasizes the benefits of a structured ERP approach Their organization witnessed improved profitability and increased efficiency as a direct result of the new system and its associated business process change enviable achievements Which can be measured by the aforementioned performance metrics available Finally through the effective merger of a welldefined implementation approach and a formal change control policy the recipe for ERP success is Within reach for those Willing to go the extra mile to attain it References Barki H Oktamis S amp Pisonneault A 2005 Dimensions Of ERP Implementations And Their Impact On ERP Project Outcomes Journal of Information Technology Management XVI 1 19 Retrieved from httpiitmubalteduXVI1article1pdf Carman C 2013 May 4 Steps to Effective Change Control Dice Network 0 Retrieved from httpnewsdicecom20130508Whychangecontrolisntforsissies Graham J 2013 October Achieve ERP ROI by Establishing Clear Metrics Early On Solutions 360 O Retrieved from httpWWWsolutions360comachieveerDroibV establishingclearmetricsearlyon Neal H 2010 Software Advice Retrieved from http blogsoftwareadvicecomarticlesmanufacturingerpimplementation strategies 103 1 101 Motiwalla L F amp Thompson J 2009 Enterprise Systems for Management Upper Saddle River NJ Pearson Education
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