Your application is as good as your implementing procedure is. Before I will enumerate the steps in implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system let us first define the actors and resources that comprises the said activity.
1. The functional consultant
Implementation should be orchestrated by a functional consultant and not by the users and programmers which is normally the case. The consultant must have the basic background of the functional issues to which the system is implemented, for example if the system is designed for making a financial statements the consultant must have an accounting background. Why? because the issues are not technically related but functional, how can a programmer understand a financial statement, or balance a balance sheet. Furthermore, the users tends to act as designers of the system, like specifying the buttons and color of forms in the application, which can overwhelm the technical/programmer guy but not the consultant. The consultant is focus in solving the functional issues and not the technical issues.
2. The technical/programmer guy
This guy is the god, and tends to act like one, as a god he/she will program himself/herself to destruction specially with a little help from the users. The programmer should not react to problems by making a code on the spot but rather prepare the application on a daily basis like sharpening his/her knife everyday before using it. Do not expect this guy to solve the users problem, they cannot and will not solve it no matter what, their only interest is to be high-tech and be better from other programmers, so that he/she can get a raise. A good functional consultant should be able to tame this beast back to reality.
3. The users
There are only two types of users, the one that will do everything to maximize the system to the point that he/she will just push one button or telepathically run the application and generate automatically the reports and the one that will never touch the application because he/she is afraid of being replace by it. Only the sponsor, e.g., management or owner of the company, can fix this not the consultant and worst the programmer. Users are only human beings, creature of habit, so make them use the system like its their habit of work, the technique is to minimized buttons to press.
4. The sponsors
Sponsors are very important, without them this wouldn’t be possible. As much as possible involve them down to the nuts and bolts of the application. So that they will understand and move on. In fact, the first objective of the consultant is to satisfy the needs of the sponsor, e.g., reports and other decision function must be in place before the transaction, which will be handled by the users.
5. Information System / application
A lot of problems will be thrown towards the information system / application if not properly implemented because the consultant doesn’t know his/her application functions and specifications, especially in its designed business process and procedures. Each information system / application was designed for a business process and procedures as well as resources like items, customers and suppliers before it made into the market. Consultants and programmers must keep that in mine and the consultant is responsible to inform the users as well. If both consultant and programmer doesn’t know the object of the application the users will rape them to disaster, for example, the POS system will now become a production system or a Payroll system will now become an ERP system. Once that happens the project is doomed.
So now you have it, lets talk about the steps. The steps are very simple and self-explanatory.
1. Agree on the reports (requirements)
2. Get the master data
3. Print the reports by providing sample data and let the sponsor accept it
4. Get the initial and beginning balances
7. Go Live
8. Accept and turn-over to Helpdesk/Support
The above steps assumes that the client is following the application’s business process and procedures. If the client wants additional procedure or work-arounds the consultant must be able to negotiate not to proceed otherwise it will be given to the programmer for modification. An effective consultant can convince the client by the used of his/her functional skills to follow the application’s business process and procedures, in this way the client will get the best industry practice business process and procedures and free itself from worms and bugs that the programmer may leave behind.