The Seven Steps to Implementing ERP – Step 4 – Installing and Configuring an ERP System

Hi Folks – It’s been a while and sorry for that! I have been spending most all of my free time working on a new implementation guide, but that’s not why you read my blog!

So let’s get down to it… OK – Step 4, Installing and Configuring a new or upgraded ERP system.

The first thing that you need to know, is that YOU WILL need the help of one or more consultants on this one. Unless you are a serious propeller head, just setting up your database (SQL Server) is not for the faint of heart. And even if you are a geek, the "configuration" of SQL to optimize your ERP system’s performance is going to require some tweaking …. tricks of the trade that you would have no way of knowing.

Next, installing your applications software… If you are even a little bigger than about the smallest candidate for an enterprise system, you are going to run your applications on a separate server. Believe me, this is not the time to be a tight wad.

Migrating data… what data do you bring over from your existing system? While you might want to bring all your data… some, actually a lot of it makes NO SENSE to even try and migrate… I am talking about "history"… Order history, inventory transaction history, purchase order history … whatever.. Now you ask… Why Not! you have years of transactions and you don’t want to lose them! Read on …

Let me see if I can explain this in a couple of sentences … A transaction, like a Customer Order in an ERP environment consists of data usually coming from multiple places in the database – the customer master, the inventory master etc… and for that reason, the data is "related" right? That "Relationship" is the reason why it is extremely difficult if not impossible to bring it over… In order for the data to be properly related from one part of your system to another, it almost HAS to be transacted on your new system. If you just "dump" data in tables and hope that it properly relates, it ain’t gonna work! When a real transaction occurs, there are these "database triggers" that "fire" as the transaction is occurring – ensuring proper relationship.

I hope that makes sense… HOWEVER,  if you can’t bring over history, what can you bring over? Actually VERY IMPORTANT stuff … What I refer to as Master files … The customer master, the vendor master, the engineering master… Really key files right? You can’t do business without them…

Next is testing. At this stage, while you don’t know jack about the new system, you can still conduct basic tests, like … does a bill of material cost "roll up" produce the same results as your legacy system? Be kind of a bummer if you went live on your new system and your costing was completely different! I’ll bet there are other things you can think of that you can test at this early stage… believe me, it does wonders for your blood pressure and maybe your sleep patterns…

Well, that’s it for now and I hope I gave you a couple of things to think about. Be sure to check out my podcast at www.ImplementERPFast.com. I have hours of free audio on selecting, qualifying, negotiating, installing, configuring as well as intergrating business processes into your new system.

One more thing… what the heck – I will give a shameless plug for my new guide – "The Software Implementation Tracker": A 400+ page guide that takes you from the mere vision of maybe you are considering a new system alll the way to Go Live. This is a HANDS ON Guide that is kind of like a "Consultant in a Box" – Only YOU ARE in control and not paying a guy $250 / Hour!

The other part of this product that I am VERY excited about is an Excel application that I developed as a companion to Tracker – the Readiness Calculator…that will allow you to – without a bunch of project management gobbledygook – to visually track your progress… your "Readiness", every step of the way to Go Live. Easy and fast, so that you can attend to the real knowledge work of your implementation.

Until next time, this is Rick …. Signing off…