The limits of traditional ERP projects

Traditional ERP projects left little room for ‘show and tell’. Bound by rigid methodologies, they typically only presented a view of the solution towards the end, which was often too late (see why such traditional methodologies proved to be ineffective). This delay in interacting with the solution was often true on large enterprise projects where the words “That’s not what I wanted!” haunted many project managers.

While some of the newer agile methodologies include playback, they often lack the rigid change control mechanisms needed to lock scope down, especially on larger projects. The required maturity needed in an agile environment is often lacking. 

Benefits of prototyping for ERP projects through cloud solutions

With the advent of SAP S4Hana and cloud solutions in general, the opportunity to prototype often using preconfigured solutions or templates is now a reality. New methodologies based on prototypes for end-to-end business processes can also ease organisations’ fears of large-scale projects.

Benefits of prototyping include the following:

  1. Allow the project team to demonstrate the solution early on in the project, allowing for more significant buy-in and significantly improving the solution’s uptake while easing the change management burden.
  2. Regular playback sessions provide the project team with a significant opportunity to lock down scope sooner and generate the interest and critical mass needed to pull these often-large projects along.
  3. The move toward “best practice” also allows for faster implementation times with higher quality, especially where industry-specific processes are concerned. After all, the wheel does not always have to be reinvented.
  4. The design phase that is prevalent in classic ERP projects becomes obsolete, thanks to the prototyping method. Business users do not have to spend many hours with blueprinting. This approach reduces project duration and ultimately reduces cost.
  5. The use of prototyping offers another benefit: the process and application know-how are conveyed more efficiently and quickly. The use of accelerators also contributes to a reduced implementation period.
  6. Best practice templates and accelerators can significantly reduce preparation and post-processing times using comprehensive templates and process modellers. And this is not only because users can immediately see changes and associated effects, but also understand the impact these have on the final solution. An additional plus is that the export of the defined processes forms the basis for business process documentation.

Challenges for the implementation process of ERP projects prototypes

Unfortunately, the maturity needed does not always show in the implementation team, and the benefits of prototyping for ERP projects are often neglected. Consultants don’t always have the required level of industry knowledge to convince customers to adopt best practices, which inevitably slows the project down. One way to mitigate this is to keep effective teams together and keep staff churn to a minimum. Relying on contractors to pull the solution together doesn’t always bring the desired results.

Project management and scope control are fundamental points to manage in any effective project. Communication of the real solution to be delivered is perhaps the best way to enable this. While customers like to hear, they also love to SEE! So show, and show often.

See OTT’s managed services solutions that will help you in prototyping ERP projects.