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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

September 2009

Summer's over. It's time to get back to business, and we're getting back to basics with this month's feature DON'T GO IT ALONE! Thanks to many of you for the compliments we've received on the look of our newsletter and NEW INNOVATIVE IT WEB SITE. If you haven't been there, please check it out.

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Before the summer (and the rain) started in July we announced our new focus on EXCELLENCE IN ERP, This month's feature is titled DON'T GO IT ALONE! We're going to debunk the myths of using ERP consultants.

Implementing ERP?? There's danger up ahead. A twisting road full of surprises. This road freezes before you realize it!

Betting the business. Most executives readily acknowledge that implementing ERP is a "bet the business" kind of project. You wouldn't be doing it if you didn't have some major objectives and benefits in mind. And most execs also readily acknowledge that they are aware not only of the risks, but the number of companies who view their implementations as failures, or just plain never get ERP off the ground. Let's cut to the chase.

Project Management, Project Management, Project Management. In real estate, it's location, location, location. In ERP, it's all about project management. ERP is probably the single most complex IT project your organization will ever undertake. Yet many companies delegate the management of this project to someone who has never done it before. How likely is it that they will do it right the first time?

We're biased We readily admit it. Project management is a key part of what we do. But let's look at the most frequently heard reasons for selecting the project manager - you decide if they're good ones!

Myth #1. It's too expensive to bring in an outsider. The software licensing and vendor implementation costs are already high. This is true. But what is the cost of failure? What is the cost of time wasted, and not getting the benefits of this business critical project?

Myth #2. Mr. or Ms. X is very organized and very technical. They can manage the project. If by managing you mean tracking resources and checking off tasks - that may be correct. However, most ERP implementations involve significant change - to processes, procedures and practices. These need to be designed, documented and communicated, and your PM needs the skills and yes the LEADERSHIP to help the organization change.

Myth #3. It's not a full time job. So and so can do it along with their other responsibilities. Possibly true. Many of our PM engagements are NOT full time engagements. However, here's one indisputable fact. When we are working on the project, it is our only focus, our only agenda. Every in house resource has many demands including frequent day to day production issues. It is difficult enough to focus on advancing a complex project when you have the skills and the time. When you have competing demands, it is virtually impossible.

Myth #4. You don't know our business. This is actually a good thing. We probably know your industry. And we're more likely to question things that need to be questioned to arrive at a better result. We're more in tune with how ERP systems work, and how you can benefit from them and their embedded best practices.

Peace of mind. If you want more than a "chance" of getting ERP done right - if you want EXCELLENCE IN ERP, don't go it alone. Make sure that Innovative is on board to lead you down the path to success. Don't forget - EXCELLENCE IN ERP is not a tag line, it's a commitment.

By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

I hope that all of you had a good summer hiatus from the normal hustle and bustle. This month I will be continuing my series on implementing ERP systems by discussing the third “chunk” of work, the Test. Feel free to go to our web site, www.innovativeitc.com and click on the Resources menu to review the previous tips in this series.

Give testing its due. I believe that this work is the one area that gets short-changed the most in failed implementations. By this time the team has gone through some exhaustive design and build of the solution and they may be losing energy. Besides, if we built it the way we designed it why wouldn’t it work? I’ll let you answer that question. As the project manager it is your job to make sure that this “chunk” is given its fair share of attention.

Back in January, 2008, I wrote about this topic in a stand-alone tip ------------- "Testing 1-2-3" That’s how important it is! I encourage you to read that tip, but just in case - I will summarize it here; plan it, document the results, and communicate the results.

Oh no, not again. In an ERP implementation you must plan for more than one round of testing. First, the core team that worked on the design must test the solution. Then, expand the team (discussed in the opening tip of the series) to other key individuals and have them test the solution. Often there are issues that must be addressed, so build into your timeline a place to do another round of testing, either of the whole solution or major parts of it depending on the list of issues. For larger implementations there may be more rounds of testing.

Test the solution and the processes. We need to recognize that during the build there was some testing, often called unit testing, done by the builders. They tested things like making sure the data moved from one place to another as designed. We want to test the business processes during this “chunk” in order to make sure the solution works in a way that we can do business. Do testing as end-to-end processes, such as order to cash or procure to pay. Do the less complex scenarios within these processes first, and then move to the more complex scenarios. Yes, planning the testing and executing the plan is hard work, but it is very important work.

Next month we’ll conclude this series with the final “chunk”, Install.

"A critical component of Project Management that is frequently overlooked.

H E R L I D E S P A

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramble.

"A piece of a solution that can be developed as part of an overall solution. (2 words)". BUILDING BLOCKS

More ERP essentials delivered right to your in box. And look for contributions from key Innovative partners. Don't forget to visit the new INNOVATIVE WEB SITE and let us know what you think.

Don't go it alone!

Implementing ERP can be dangerous. Don't go down the road without the right partner.

Tip of the month.

Implementing ERP - "Chunk 3", Test your solution.

This month's word scramble.

 

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