Thursday, April 10, 2008

Be involved!

Last day!

This morning we had a closer look to the implementation phase. What have I learnt?

First the basic implementation is composed of five phases: first the project initiation (to decide which systems to implement, to define a team, the goal), the planning step (how to plan the project and to know the aim of each step), the controlling phase, the execution one (to reach milestones and test takes part of this step) and then the closeout. These phases can be used for any kind of project; not only an IT project and you don’t need to finish a step in order to start a new one. The lifecycle of an ERP system has been studied by some researchers and according to them there are different phases to consider. But never forget that the project phase composed of the planning, control and execution is not enough to be successful. You have to take into account phases after the project one: this step is to check what is wrong in the system because there are still bugs and to fix it. The last step is to let the system living and to try to improve it (onward and upward phases). The graph was very useful to understand the different phases!

Concerning the SAP implementation timeline, this is closely the same but we had much more details. By the way, the idea when meeting consultants is to always be objective of what they will show: some graphs concerning their job can seem very persuasive but you have to wonder what the reason of these conclusions is. Thus the good news they will show are not complete and sometimes their graph tell you nothing about the success or the failure of their implementation. And I was very surprised about the percentage of failure implementations! What are the different parts of the SAP implementation?

· First the project preparation in which the team is formed and trained and in which the team plan the implementation. The milestones are to organize the work and to make sure that the budget is well running

· The business blueprint is to make sure that your process is matching with SAP. You need to start the mapping of your process and understand how SAP works.

· The realization is the huge part of the implementation since it takes the most effort. The key activities are unit test, integration test, data cleaning, preparation, collection validation and testing and the training of the trainer (the key managers will train the employees but they are to be trained first to understand what they are talking about, this will improve relationships and they will learn more by themselves)

· The final preparation is to resolve and complete all opened issues

· Finally Go Live & support phase.

But I learnt that if I am a good business analyst, if I have the competencies to analyse and make decisions thanks to my analysis, I would be involved in an implementation project. And I think this is exciting if I don’t like my future auditor internship! Every business analyst can be involved in an implementation even if you are not an IT expert, that’s good! Why? Because you have the competencies to understand the needs of the company (that is the basic thing to do), you can go to ask questions to key functional persons and translate it to technical people. You need to be volunteer to work, to participate, to open your mind and so on, that’s the basic ideas when being in enterprise: be open to learn more! (In US you have to step up! New words!!). This is a challenge. As an intern people, you can participate a lot in this implementation: test transaction by transaction, write the test script, be involved in the train the trainer, and schedule the rules and the material for instance.

But never forget that you never implement an ERP system to save money, you execute it for a strategic reason.

Finally, I would say that the overview of the questions we had the first day was a very good recap and I enjoy it! I also take pleasure in reading some articles that you provide to us. I realize that the culture is a considerable issue to have in mind thanks to the article on ERP in China and once again I become aware of one of the ERP difficulty: this is not only an IT issue! Thank you for your happiness and your willing to teach your professional and life experience!

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