ERP Implementations and House Building - Phase 1: Analysis
In this multi-part blog series, Alan Lyczkowski discusses the many surprising parallels that can be drawn between an ERP implementation and the process of building a house. NOTE: If you’re just joining us for the series, you’ve only missed the Introduction.
Before building a home, you need to know what you are you looking for in that house. Just as when you are implementing an ERP system, you need to analyze your needs and wants before you can start looking to fulfill them.
In the several homes that we have lived in, my wife and I determined the things we liked and did not like, the things we needed, and the things we could live without. We also researched school districts, neighborhoods, and communities to decide what we wanted for our family.
When implementing an ERP system, you need to do a similar analysis. This analysis starts with determining why you needed to start looking for an ERP in the first place. You also need to identify the pain points your users are having, as well as their needs. Where your business is heading or how it is growing may influence the areas you need to add to the software. Are there features in the software you will be implementing that you do not need? (For example, if you are a distribution organization, do you really need to invest in a manufacturing solution?)How much do you have to invest into an ERP solution? Do you have the talent in your organization that can assist in the implementation, or will you need to outsource the entire implementation?
Like Shopping (Phase 2), this is an exciting phase of an ERP project, as you can discover a lot about your organization. Without performing this phase, you will invest a lot of time and money and might not resolve the critical questions that an ERP can assist in resolving. Use this opportunity to learn all you can about how users will perform the jobs that need to be performed—and how you can help improve your relationships with your customers.
Before you can truly successfully implement an ERP solution, you must know what you need and what you can live without. This will help keep the goal of the overall project in focus. There will be many times throughout the life of a project when needs can be confusing, but by clearly defining them, you will be better prepared to keep focus and to be successful.
The keys to this Phase are to investigate, analyze, and define your requirements. Know what you need and what you want. Also understand how your users interface to the system and how you can help meet their needs. Unless you know what you want, you will never get it.
Read the next article in this series, ERP Implementations and House Building Phase 2: Shopping.