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

October 2010

It's not as obvious as it sounds. When you're implementing ERP it pays to have a very clear picture of what's really important to you and your organization. There are always trade-offs to be made. It's basic, but it's critical. Read our lead article to understand how and why.

And in the useful tips section John Pellegrino points out some of the ups and downs of implementation. The Down and Up of Implementation.

Don't forget to read Paul Sita's ERP Blog Posts for the Sage Business Management Blog. Check out the latest post on business process improvement - you may be surprised! http://blog.sageerpsolutions.com/category/sage-erp-solutions/

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

Beyond the obvious. Last month we talked about basics of software selection. This month let’s talk about some basics about overall priorities. When you embark on an ERP project it’s really important to be clear about what you’re hoping to achieve – and what you’re willing to do to achieve those objectives. Beyond the obvious notion of defining your objectives is the less obvious notion of how important achieving those objectives is. As we have stated in this column many times, ERP projects are fraught with complications and unexpected decision points. Once you are into the implementation there are many activities and sub-projects going on simultaneously – data setup, planning business scenarios for pilots, data migration, building reports and queries, validating system modifications and enhancements – and all these have an impact on the project.

The Golden Triangle (or is it the ERP Bermuda Triangle?) A good way of looking at trade-offs is the “golden triangle” approach. The 3 corners of the triangle represent outcomes - time, money and quality. (Fast, cheap and good) The truth is you can only pick two – any two. You can have it both fast and good but it won't be cheap (because you need a lot of resources to get things done this way – think Extreme makeover – ERP edition – hundreds of contractors working day and night - and in many situations it won’t work anyway). You can have it good, and at reasonable cost – but things may take some time – longer than you planned.

Be honest about what's important to you. Many clients get hung up on hitting a certain date that is more about ego and demonstrating their effectiveness than achieving a quality result. So they end up on time and budget but not achieving the quality, i.e. really achieving the ERP objectives. In our years of experience, successful clients always have a clear sense of what they are willing to trade off. This helps them make decisions faster, since they have a framework for making the trade-offs that inevitably arise.

Our perspective. In our view, ERP is really about transformation. Transformations take time. They take adoption. They take change – from people and the organization. The most successful clients recognize this and have a steady focus on the future and the long range horizon about how they envision their business a few years down the road. Our job is to help our clients be successful with the path they have chosen and understand what it will take to march down that path. Applying the “golden triangle” is just one of the basic techniques to help in this regard. As usual, Innovative is here to help you avoid getting lost in the the Bermuda Triangle of ERP.

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

In last month’s tip I spoke about staying out of “the black hole” when in an implementation or development project. All of these projects have their ups and downs, their successes and their challenges, the good and the bad, etc. But, in well managed projects there is one “down” and a related “up” that keeps them running efficiently and allows a project manager to keep his or her sanity.

Break it “down”. During all of the phases and stages of these projects there are many moving parts that should be happening at the same time. For example, during the actual implementation phase of an ERP system you may have setup/administration within the software, customizations, forms and reports development, data migration and possibly other “special” parts such as product configuration or document management. How do you keep track of all of this? Break the project down into smaller projects that we commonly refer to as sub-projects.

Keep the project management “up”. Manage each of the sub-projects as a project in and of itself. That means assigning a project manager, creating a “core team”, having status meetings and using iterative development processes (see last month’s tip). And, yes, it is OK to assign the same person as a project manager or core team member on more than one sub-project. If they are having trouble keeping "up" you can always have them review my tips about managing multiple projects in our May 2010 and June 2010 newsletters.

"What successful ERP projects require you to make a lot of. (1 word, hyphenated)

D F S R A T E F O

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Continued focus on the basics- blocking and tackling. (after all, football season is upon us) - and always more useful tips and techniques for staying sharp - right to your in box. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives. Amaze your friends and colleagues with your expertise!

ERP Implementation.

Fast, Cheap and Good - Pick Any Two!

Tip of the month.

The Down and Up of Implementation.

Word scramble.

 

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