The Importance of Business Analysis to a Successful ERP Implementation
Business analysis involves defining and documenting user requirements, developing and testing technology systems, and navigating through organizational bureaucracies. Just as oil is essential for your car’s engine to run smoothly, business analysis is a key ingredient in a smooth ERP implementation. If you do not change your engine oil, dirt will accumulate over time and cause excessive wear on the engine. Not changing your oil over the long haul will eventually cause your engine to seize up and die, leaving you stranded.
Much like the oil in your car, doing a business analysis as the beginning phase of your ERP project is critical to delivering a successful solution that meets the business needs of your company. Will skipping the business analysis phase cause your ERP implementation project to come to a sudden halt? The answer is no, just as not changing the oil in your car will not initially cause any problems. However, there will always be a big risk that you will miss opportunities to maximize business value to the stakeholders of your company at the end of the project, labeling the project as a failure in the end. Business analysis, when effective, allows project team members to work together, in support of each other, to create a plan that will help the company grow revenues and increase margins: the ultimate and continuous goal of any ERP.
Key Components of Business Analysis
Business analysis involves communicating complex technical details in easy-to-understand language to stakeholders, including developers, administrative personnel, and senior management. Communicating these messages to different audiences is imperative to ERP implementation success. With clear, concise communication, everyone can understand the issues at hand and work to resolve issues and achieve the set goals.
Business analysis also involves understanding how external political, environmental, social and technological forces affects your corporate strategy. Business analysts can benefit from this insight because a change in corporate strategy could lead to a change in project scope. For example, new technology standards would affect a small or large technology company's product development strategy, which might affect the scope and even viability of ongoing research and development projects.
Minimizing or eliminating business analysis from your ERP implementation would be highly imprudent. If you want to maximize the investment in your project then the right thing to do is invest in a business analysis. The business analysis brings the stakeholders in a company into agreement as to the business needs and requirements of the organization; an essential task that needs to be occur before defining solutions and executing on said solutions.
Think about it, would you try to save a few dollars by not changing the oil in your car? Chances are you would be willing to spend $50 every few months on an oil change to preserve a $30,000 car investment. The same can be said of business analysis and projects; why risk trashing a major and mission critical project investment by eliminating the time and money needed to conduct a thorough business analysis?