Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Technical or practical parts: what do you prefer??

Hi everyone!

Lessons today were focused first on the implementation phase with the following questions: who will compose the implementation team, which modules you need to implement, is it a centralized or a decentralized organization and so on, what and how the company needs to customize. Secondly we had the lab session. Did you enjoy it?

Have a look at the lessons learned from our assignment.
The implementation team has to be composed of in-house and outsourcing people because expert people are not sufficient and companies that use only consultants will fail to implement ERP. Never forget that the management has to choose an IT company which will best fit the relationships between the consulting firms and the employees. Employees also have to be involved in this process because they will be the users of it and consultants have to take into account their considerations and their needs. A problem can happen because of this collaboration: employees can be jealous or they can think that these external persons will take their job and maybe they will be less confident because they will not understand why the managers have decided to use consultant skills rather than theirs. They will feel less powerful compared to the consultants and frustrated. The managers have to make them understood that it is required to have a mix of people to better implement and they have to change their attitude concerning this group project: the attitude they have to adopt is to wonder what they are going to learn, where they can be useful, how can they be involved and how they can learn as much as possible.

The implementation team is composed of functional technical experts (who have good competencies of the modules which the company is going to implement, excellent knowledge of the code phase …), a project manager, key manager from each department (they have the ability to know what the companies’ needs are, what it is the more considerable change to execute and so on), trusted employee (to be sure that they will be pledged in this process) and this teams needs the support of a powerful person who is seen as the “champion” of the team! What is funny is that every business people can pretend to be a project manager (even I!) but in practice (as I saw this morning during the lab session!) it is more complicated and you need to have much more competencies than an overview of this subject. I know what it is about but after to implement it is more complex! By the way, I am glad that this course is not so practical because I realized this morning that you have to be very patient and attentive and thus it would be boring. But the Lab session was a perfect occasion to understand that each company needs its own system because the whole organization is engaged with this system and as each company has its own manufacturing process, HR process and so on, it would be stupid to copy from your competitor.

Another issue concerns the distinction between technical and process customization. Each of these two steps has consequences on the implementation. A technical customization consists of a change in the software whereas the aim of a process customization is to change the way the company does things.

Finally, it was very interesting to go through all team assignments because I realize that lots of questions have to be raised in order to make the right decisions and it is very difficult when we don’t have the background of the company. The solution: to make assumptions! The subject is so complex because of its technical part of course but also the implementation of ERP has so much impact on the company: its employees, its system, its stakeholders, the motivation, the various multifaceted relationships, … I like it!

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