Another advantage of accelerated implementation is the reduced likelihood that you will simply overdo the process, resulting in a system that suffers from over-engineering. In traditional implementation methods, the business process design and software configuration activities tend to follow a trial-and-error pathway as clients and consultants iterate in pursuit of perfection. Perfection is costly, and the resulting processes can be difficult to maintain.
Speedy, streamlined ERP for the mid-size enterprise? Yes, such beasts do exist! (Part 6)
Instead, rapid deployment puts the emphasis on a reduction of the business process design phase; client’s are encouraged to accept “out-of-the-box”, proven business processes as entirely adequate. Such processes are not over-engineered because they are pre-configured, which also saves time in the decision-making process.
In all ERP implementations, as clients see what’s possible, they learn that there is more that they can do than was originally intended. The temptation is to expand the scope to include new benefits, thus lengthening the time to go-live. The age-old term “scope creep” does not correctly apply to ERP. “Scope creep” applies to individual applications. ERP, as an enterprise-wide solution, with perhaps more than a dozen separate applications in play, can easily fall prey to “runaway scope” on a much larger level.
In accelerated implementation, that’s less likely to happen. Project scope is usually frozen prior to business process design. By pre agreement, as mid-stream benefits are identified, they are automatically set aside into a file marked “wish list” and are not addressed at this stage. Obviously, if such benefits are deemed essential, they can be addressed immediately after go-live. In any case, clients are urged to adopt a strategy of continuous business improvement after go-live, in which business processes (and, by consequence, configuration) will continue.
After cost reduction, the next big advantage of an accelerated implementation is that companies simply start benefitting from the ERP system much sooner. Depending upon the business objectives, getting up and running can be of marginal importance or vital. For example, if a client is entering a new market that is dependent upon the ERP system, the difference between a four-month implementation and a eight-month implementation can make or break the deal. In essence, perhaps the greatest advantage of an accelerated implementation is the sense of urgency and purpose it will engender.
Accelerated implementations are not without risk. While a sense of urgency is essential to the success of an accelerated implementation, if that urgency engenders panic because deadlines are slipping or budgets are stretched, project speed can become a liability.
End users fulfill the business processes that are supported by ERP software and their competency, or lack thereof, has a direct effect on the efficacy of those processes. Unfortunately, end-user training is one of the more neglected aspects of ERP and can be even more neglected in an accelerated setting. This training is nearly always the penultimate step before go-live and if the project is running late and/or over budget, the tendency has long been to foreshorten it in order to save time. This time-savings will later be overwhelmed by end user incompetence and an inability to effectively fulfill the intended business processes.
Continued in Part 7