The Reality (Not the Hype) of ERP Implementation

Deanne Macdonald Marketing Coordinator headshot | June 16th, 2021

Wouldn’t it be great if we could wave a magic wand and our enterprise would suddenly turn into a model of efficiency and profitability? Well, we don’t, so it has to be done the “old-fashioned way” with engineering, know-how and just plain hard work.

ERP Implementation is like that. We would all love it if someone could come in, wave their magic wand and make implementation dreams come true, with little to no effort. We certainly wish it could go this way, but as Colin Powell said, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Manufacturing is complex. Your company is also complex, and probably has unique processes that make a 100% out of the box solution unfeasible at best. All of these things need to be taken into account when implementing your ERP.

At the start of an ERP implementation, much of what is going to happen is a bit of a mystery. At LogicData, we not only have expert implementation consultants, we also have a very specific implementation process that we developed over three decades of successful implementation. This includes Conference Room Piloting, training, and a post implementation review, to name just a few of the components.

In an effort to help you understand what an ERP implementation actually entails, here are the steps you will be undertaking in your ERP implementation (link here).

1. Implementation Planning and System Installation

During this step we get familiar with the key players of your team and gain the knowledge we need to plan an implementation that fits your needs. Our professional services manager and an application consultant will come on-site to conduct interviews, discuss how you use your current system, how it can be improved upon, or how we can fit your current processes into SyteLine.

During this time, we want to know the pain points, inefficiencies, missing functionality, and “must haves” so we can prioritize these areas during the implementation. We also determine which members of your team will comprise the “core team”. The Core Team will be responsible for attending all scheduled project sessions, and will ultimately be responsible for conducting the SyteLine training for the remainder of your team.

During this meeting, LogicData Project Management along with your management team will create a project scope. Using this scope, LogicData will create a detailed project plan that includes all the required project tasks in order of completion, and who is responsible for those tasks.

Simultaneously, our technical team will work with your technical lead to provision your new SyteLine Environment. This step in the implementation is crucial and needs to be performed correctly in order for the implementation to start off on the right note. The goal is simple: to install and configure the SyteLine products in a manner that allows the system administrator to manage and maintain the software during the educational phase of the project. As part of the delivery and set up LogicData will train the administrator on how to manage the system during the early weeks of the implementation.

2. Education and Conference Room Piloting

This step entails training your team in each functional area of the SyteLine and testing out your processes and procedures. The objective of our education strategy is to provide a baseline understanding to each team member of the functions and integration issues related to their functional area(s). Where practical and appropriate, all core implementation team members will attend all training sessions.

During training, you will have many questions about how the software will be used in your specific environment, however, those details will not be covered in training, but instead will be covered during several  Conference Room Pilots. There are two types of Conference Room Pilots: Vertical and Horizontal, click here for more info.  

A Vertical Conference Room Pilot is used to simulate one functional area of your business. In these pilots you will review and change required business procedures, determine if you need any modifications, test out the critical reports you will need to use, and discuss the data that will need to be converted from your current system into Syteline.

Once you perform a vertical CRP for each area of your business, a Horizontal Pilot will be performed as an end to end test. It will reproduce a slice of your company across many modules, departments and disciplines to ensure converted data is correct as well as validate your integrations, modifications and custom reports. The primary focus of this pilot is to test the relationships between modules and the flow of accurate data across modules. This will also include testing of your written and automated procedures to ensure they are accurate, complete and detailed enough for your user community to follow in order to perform their jobs.

The diagram below displays how the pilots will flow in a typical implementation.

Infographic showing the flow of the pilots for the different steps in the ERP Implementation

3. Operating procedures

As mentioned above, one of the most important deliverables from each vertical CRP will be your operating procedure documentation. Your core team will develop these processes during the implementation and use the documentation for end user training prior to Go Live and beyond. These documents should be continuously updated as changes are made to your process flows. Below are some key elements to include in your process documentation.

  • Define the process and it’s purpose
    • Organize the steps
    • Outline who is responsible for the processes and procedures
    • Include exceptions to your normal processes

4. Conversion Planning and Modifications

Regardless of the type of data conversion your company is undertaking, there is data mapping involved. A detailed Data Conversion plan will be created during your implementation. This task is designed to have your staff and our team work together to map your legacy data to the correct fields and files.

Static data and dynamic data from the legacy system will be converted to SyteLine through manual and/or electronic methods. If your team opts to have data from your legacy system imported, our staff of experienced programmers will perform this task or assist your staff in this process. Tasks in this area may include extracting legacy data, manipulating, mapping and importing it to the proper tables in SyteLine, as well as testing of the data.

In addition to data conversion assistance, your team may identify areas of the software that do not meet their current needs and a modification to the software is needed. LogicData consultants will help identify the requirements of all needed modifications for our programming team to execute.

Modifications are typically classified into one of several types:

  • Changes to Stored Procedures
  • Custom Reports
  • Form/User Interface Modifications
  • Database Triggers
  • IDO

Modifications need to be carefully considered and evaluated before they are executed. Things to take into consideration during the evaluation process may include:

  • Cost effectiveness.
  • Effect on future versions and implementations.
  • Is a procedural or process change called for rather than a modification?
  • Is this mission critical or just “what we had in the old system?”

5. Training Cut-over Go-Live

This is one of the most exiting and nail-biting portions of our implementation. Making plans for the cutover activities is a very important step in an implementation project. In this step, the details for final activities are made and tested. This is where the decision is made regarding readiness to proceed.

The project team will create and conduct user interface, overview, operational, and advanced user training prior to cut over. Training should be conducted using the procedure documentation produced as a result of the CRP’s. LogicData Professional Services will support this activity through assistance with course development.

For Go Live, LogicData believes it is important to have representation during the final cut over. The goal of this activity is less structured than the others, but no less important. We want to ensure that any issues that arise during your final cut over can be addressed quickly and decisively. By providing a dedicated resource on-site and technical resources remotely, we can help ensure that your Go Live goes smoothly.

6. Post Implementation Review

This step is critical to your continued success. Three to six months after go-live we suggest scheduling a Post Implementation Audit.  The goal of this visit is to validate that the procedures developed during the implementation are still being followed and are correct, and to create a plan for the next phase of the implementation.  A company that is growing and changing will see their software needs, business issues, and staff change at the same time.  The Post Implementation Audit will provide you with a framework to meet this change.

7. Repeat for the Next Phase

The above steps are repeated for each portion of the system until the entire ERP is live and running well. Our consultants are there to help you  understand and utilize your system to its full capacity for continuing ROI for years to come.

Together we can make your implementation a success!

Infographic showing an outline of the actual steps necessary for an ERP implementation. It is a brief summary of the blog.

As with cost, implementation time is also dependent on the same factors mentioned above. LogicData offers multiple implementation methodologies that can be adapted to your specific needs and resource availability. Considering a very basic implementation of just the core functionality of SyteLine, and employing a LogicData managed implementation approach, time to value can be achieved in as little as 3-4 months. A full implementation of all core SyteLine functionality utilizing a standard implementation approach, and assuming full client resource availability, can generally be completed in 6 to 8 months. To determine the best implementation methodology and timeline estimate for your specific situation, please contact us.

The cost of software and implementation will vary based on many factors such as user count, functionality requirements, deployment, implementation methodology, customization, data conversion, integration, and internal resources. However, for a basic configuration of SyteLine annual subscription pricing can begin at approximately $18,000 annually for a minimum of 10 users or a one-time cost of $20,000 plus annual maintenance for a minimum of 5 users in an on-premise deployment. A primarily self-directed implementation of such a basic configuration, although not recommended, can likely be achieved for approximately $30,000. LogicData recommends our standard “train-the-trainer” implementation approach which is estimated to start at roughly $65,000 for a basic implementation. For further information on pricing specific to your needs, please contact us.