ERP Implementations and House Building – Phase 6: Moving Day Preparations
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 can read the first six installments here: Introduction, Phase 1: Analysis, Phase 2: Shopping, Phase 3: Choosing a Partner, Phase 4: Decisions, and Phase 5: Planning and Preparation.
In the previous blogs, we reviewed many of the steps involved in an ERP system implementation and compared them to home building. A critical part of both is planning. Moving into a house requires preparation and decisions. These are also key tasks associated with an ERP Implementation.
Well, the house is coming along nicely, and the ERP Implementation is going well. We have drywall, flooring, cabinets, and finishes started. Just as in the ERP system, we have the setups complete, development complete, and user training scheduled. Thing get exciting in this phase.
Now is the time to start preparing to move. Aside from the logistics of moving (when and who are we working with, setting up utilities, getting pizza and beer), we have several critical decisions to make when packing. When my wife and I started this adventure, we needed to move into a small apartment while we waited for our house to be built. We knew very well that much of the stuff we owned wouldn’t fit into the apartment, so that forced us to make some decisions.
We knew that we would need to pay to have someone move our stuff and someone else to store it while we weren’t using it. As a result of the anticipated expenses, we made the decision to downsize, even though we were moving ultimately into a larger place.
We divided all of the stuff that we owned into four categories by answering these questions:
- Do we use it every day?
- Is it something that is important enough to keep, but we can live without for six months?
- Will it no longer be necessary in the new house?
- Why are we keeping it around?
After placing our stuff into these four categories, we did the obvious and got rid of much of the stuff we didn’t need. We did keep stuff that brought back important memories in our lives but got rid of much that no longer had value to us.
Similarly, in an ERP system, we have stuff. This is typically labeled as Data and Processes. Before moving everything from your legacy ERP system into your new ERP system, you should do a bit of analysis on the data and processes you currently have.
Writing routines to move your data from your old ERP system to your new system can be expensive, and just like hiring a mover, there is also a risk that a box full of china will get dropped, causing stuff to break, no matter how well it is packed. Something inevitably will get broken no matter how well you pack.
Before packing, you should look at the data you intend to move and ask the same questions you asked above. Additionally, you should ask if you are keeping this data for regulatory reasons. What would happen if you could no longer access this data? Can the data be retrieved in an alternate way?
As a result of this analysis, you may find that you do not need as much of your legacy system data, which will lead to significant cost savings and reduced risks.
There are many features of your business that makes your company unique. Some of these processes provide great value to your organization while others do not. Additionally, your ERP system will enable processes that will save money and time. (Keep in mind that you started the ERP implementation to improve your processes).
Take the time to evaluate the many processes that your organization uses and ask if the process will no longer work in the new ERP system. Will the process no longer be needed?
Much of the cost can be saved in an ERP system implementation by reviewing built-in processes. Doing a task “the way it always has been done” is great, but modifying a system to fit existing business processes can result in added costs. Just like the box of china that is being moved, something can break as well.
Now is the time to invest in planning the logistics of the move, not only determining what will be moved, but how it will be moved. Ask yourself the following:
- When will my stuff be moved?
- Who will be helping with this? How do I contact them quickly?
- Can we estimate how long the move will take and how many resources we will need?
- Who do we need to contact regarding the move (in the case of a house, this would include utilities, cable, internet service provider; in the ERP world this may include auditors, banks, system integrators, customers, vendors, etc.)
- If we can’t move on the day we schedule, what is our fallback?
And with any move…who will get the donuts and coffee in the morning and the pizza and beer when the move is done?
Invest the time now to help your move go seamlessly. Wait until the last minute, and you will have additional anxiety and stress as go-live approaches.
In my next blog post, I will talk about the walk through on the house and how this compares to training and testing your new ERP system.