7/20/2018

For a one-stop solution to digital transformation, your organization needs a partner that cuts through the hype to determine which ERP system and deployment model best suits your organization. The ERP selection process involves ensuring that an organization is fully ready to adopt ERP software, analyzing its unique processes and defining its system requirements, and finally selecting the appropriate ERP software for your company. Our approach helps you identify the total cost of ownership and forces competing software vendors to address your specific requirements.

Methodology

Our ERP selection methodology starts with the recognition that each company approaches ERP selection with a unique set of industry needs, resources, and culture.
  • We focus on the business needs through active collaboration with key stakeholders that discovers the critical needs then through gap analysis that aligns your requirements with the best option for meeting your specific industry needs.
  • We take the time to get to know your organization, understand your operational model, get to know your people and find the right fit for your organization.
  • We provide full lifecycle, 360-degree ERP consulting services so you benefit from our hands-on implementation and organizational change experience, resulting in a more informed and practical decision.
  • We research and document your unique organizational needs to help find the best option for meeting your specific industry requirements.
  • We ensure that your organization follows a proven decision making methodology in the selection process that will lead to a sound ERP selection decision.
  • We focus on helping you improve your business process and performance addressing the critical needs while concentrating on key departments in your overall organizational business processes that will positively impact of your organizational results.
  • We staff our selection team with advisory consultants who are ERP solution and industry experts. They use in depth, first-hand knowledge to guide you in business processes discovery that aligns with your organization that can result in the organizational and competitive advantage from your investment in a new ERP solution.
  • We streamline your selection process, saving you time and money.

Visioning

A Vision of success is a clear and succinct description of what your organization should look like after it successfully implements its strategies and achieves its full potential. It is an expression by the people about what they want the organization to be – a preferred future, a word or picture of an organization you choose to create.
A Vision statement for an organization should include the organization’s:
  • Mission statement
  • Leadership guidance and intent
  • Basic philosophy, core values or cultural features
  • Time Allocations
  • Goals and objectives
  • Strategies
  • Facts
  • Constraints
  • Assumptions
  • Risk assessment
  • Performance criteria
  • Important decision making rules
  • Ethical standards of all employees

Needs Assessment

A needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or gaps between current conditions and desired conditions, though interactive collaborative discovery sessions with your company professionals and our consultants. The discrepancy discovered between the current conditions and the desired conditions will be measured to appropriately identify the needs, priorities and their proposed remedies. A need can be a desire to improve current performance or to correct a deficiency.
The expert consultants at EIS will help you to determine which solutions or upgrades will best fulfill your business needs within your budget. A needs assessment also looks at what your organization plans to accomplish in the future remembering the best solution today may not be the best solution tomorrow.
A Needs Assessment for an organization should include the organization’s:
  • Scope assessment
  • Business process maps design
  • Business standards and procedures review
  • High level requirements
  • Infrastructure review
  • Gap analysis
  • Constraint controls
  • Risk management

Project Planning and Strategic Planning

The EIS team will lead and build the core outline of your business general and executive strategies that align with your business success path.
A strategy for an organization should include the following activities:
  • Definition key stakeholders, roles and participants in the selection process
  • Decision making authorizations
  • Agreed upon project timelines and key milestones
  • Definition of scope, including users, modules, locations, integrations, level of customization, data migration
  • Conduct kick-off meeting and project overview with key stakeholders and participants
  • Establish initial communication plan
  • Reviewing existing business and technical documentation
  • Establish an ERP project governance structure to guide the evaluation process, team, scope, and deliverables
  • Establish initial organizational change management plan
  • Establish risk management mitigation plan
  • Establish governance plan
  • Establish a project management site for information sharing and project management

System Inventory Assessment

This task will identify the information architecture and existing systems currently in place to support IT functions within the organization. EIS will begin with an Ecosystem scan starting from the Outside to the Inside ensuring that all aspects of security and risks are discovered first as we continue with a deep review of existing systems status, role, usage, compliance, usage patterns and adherence to industry standards.

Data Optimization Assessment

The Key to Data Optimization is a systematic process for assessing and addressing the needs of the Data as it relates to people, systems and retention needs. The data is created to support customers, business process in either a cloud or centralized storage strategy that allows people or systems to rapidly gather, integrate, distill and summarize information in order to drive intelligent decisions relating to customers’ needs or issues. EIS focuses on the heart of your data solutions that drive your business, setting priorities that develop appropriate economical improvements to your data management strategies the move your business forward in an aggressive manner.
A Data Management Strategy for optimization should include the following activities:
  • Measurement of performance demand as it relates to existing platform and processing infrastructure (e.g., need for real-time or just-in time data)
  • Analysis of data types and data models; consider benefits of breaking down information into more granular data, using data-neutral models to improve data flexibility and query/processing times;
  • Evaluation of performance issues with regard to expanding automated processes, decreasing query processing times, reducing transcription errors
  • Alignment of organizational members to ensure the right business and IT people are in the right roles to get the most out of the data management investment
  • Processes and procedures to implement and deploy applications to meet time-to-market goals
  • Consolidation of runaway datamarts and one-off reporting databases
  • Data retention strategies as it related to business, compliance and customer needs
  • Strategic solution to data portability across solutions to reduce redundancy
  • Clearly defined system of record for each piece of data

Architecture Assessment

In addition to a system inventory assessment EIS provides a deep dive into your companies architecture, with an assessment that will help you make the best decisions about hardware and software for your IT solutions. EIS consultants will evaluate the infrastructure, architecture, and design of your current deployment and of any proposed deployments. An architecture assessment helps ensure that a solution or upgrade is deployed successfully and efficiently.
EIS consultants will analyze your system architecture and deliver a design document that will enable you to make the best business decisions about your software solutions.
An architecture assessment should provide the following benefits:
  • Reduced risk: Potential risks are identified and addressed early in the implementation process.
  • Higher quality: EIS consultants will help ensure that best practices for optimal performance are in place.
  • Time and money saved: Architecture assessment helps prevent performance problems.
  • Expert advice: You’ll have access to our solution expertise, and that will help you complete deployment faster.
  • Industry, Governmental, and software compliance with versions and license management
  • Concise plan that addresses interoperability, portability, and integration across platforms utilizing open and/or de-facto standard protocols, programming languages, middleware, development tools, databases, utilities, etc.
  • A complete architectural analysis and assessment of your IT application, focusing on Quality of Service (QOS) parameters such as scalability, performance, interoperability, usability

Integration Assessment

Coupled with an Architecture assessment EIS can provide a focused Integration Assessment inclusive of a companywide diagnostic that is focused on the integrations opportunities that exist within an organizations ecosystem or with new solutions that are being added to the ecosystem. This assessment looks at the relative strengths and weaknesses of both the current software or new solutions based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of both packages are compared to create an integration course of action roadmap. The result will give stakeholders actionable recommendations focused on maximizing integration value and mitigating risk. This assessment is designed to support a company’s investigation and decision making process to determine the viability of acquiring solution or upgrading / customizing the current solution. Integration readiness assessment will leverage data and determines if systems/s utilizes common, standard interfaces and/or middleware having the ability to interoperate and integrate with other software without requiring custom programming or intermediate, interface-specific applications.

Prioritize Changes

Once the quantitative assessments have been reached for each of the systems in the organization’s IT portfolio, we can start to prioritize which systems can or should be consolidated, upgraded or replaced. In most midsize to large organizations, there is typically “low-hanging fruit,” or systems that can have an immediate and measurable impact by being improved or replaced. In addition to identifying this low-hanging fruit, EIS will also work with the organization to prioritize the remaining systems and create a backlog of requests that will begin to enhance organizations overall IT solutions.

Application Strategy

The first step in defining enterprise strategy is to consider the application options as it relates to the organization. From the prior steps in the overall assessment, EIS will help the organization define the costs and benefits of different options as strategic decisions differ from typical operational decisions. Whereas operational decisions relate to the daily functioning of an organization, strategic decisions have a higher degree of uncertainty, incomplete information, complexity, innovation, interdependencies, judgment, and perceptual moldable-structure. IT Application Strategies need to meet new technical opportunities or threats as well as the demands of changes to the business overall.

 

Strategic Roadmap

After completing the previous deliverables, the organization will develop an overall strategy. EIS will help to outline a three to five-year plan for migrating the organization’s enterprise systems infrastructure, per the strategic framework defined throughout the project.
Items incorporated into the enterprise strategy include:
  • Gap closing analysis describes the between the future vision and the current reality. Includes prioritization of needs that will drive the sequencing of the roadmap.
  • Confirmation on consolidation, upgrade, or replacement of existing solutions
  • Business case and implementation plan
  • New systems integration with legacy systems
  • Data consolidation and strategy
  • Hardware upgrades needed to support new strategy
  • Technical skills in the organization as it relates to potential changes
  • Organizational change management activities to support the new plan moving forward
The outlined strategy will be documented, and will be able to serve as a reference for all IT projects moving forward.

Business Process Management

Step 1: Business Process Mapping and Requirements Gathering
EIS will perform a benchmark assessment of key primary performance indicators across all functional areas, this is a collaborative approach to understanding systems and needs. EIS will deliver the benchmark assessment and a recommendation the business leadership for the decision making process. This will include an evaluation of which functional areas will require deep dive improvement sessions and which processes will be examined. EIS conducts cross-functional workshops with key client team-members and stakeholders to define, validate and prioritize key business processes and business requirements. These processes and requirements are used to determine key evaluation criteria to measure potential vendors’ ability to meet business and operational needs.
In addition, the team works with the client to define the following:
  • Long-term strategic goals and objectives, including growth targets, anticipated M&A activities, etc.
  • Key performance indicators used to manage its operations
  • Process pain points and opportunities for improvement
  • Prioritized business requirements (the highest-priority requirements providing the evaluation criteria to identify other potential short-list candidates as appropriate)
  • Most appropriate application strategy, such as level of customization, deployment option, best-of-breed vs. ERP, etc.
Once the client’s business processes and requirements are defined, they are translated into demonstration scripts, which are used by short-list vendors to demonstrate their products.
Step 2: Business Process Improvement
EIS will process map the sub-processes and map dependencies while providing values inputs that will improve processes with the organization. Any new requirements that result from process improvement sessions will be added to the requirements document and submitted to the vendor for evaluation and demonstration purposes.
The EIS team will work with the organization to identify the following aspects of the process redesign:
  • Perform baseline assessment of current process and identify targets and goals for the improved process.
  • Facilitate onsite and remote collection events
  • Perform root cause analysis and impact analysis
  • Identify and facilitate follow-up deep dive sessions needed to address and make key business decisions for the new improved process
  • Gather and perform Return on Investment analysis for all improved processes; this will be included in the business case
  • Develop improved future state process flows
  • Document organizational change gaps and opportunities
  • Define new organizational structure
Step 3: Business Process Blueprint
EIS consultants will create the design and detailed workflows, checklists and business logics to be used as the foundation for software design and implementation. Roles and responsibility changes will be documented and included in the organizational change impact assessment.
The EIS team will perform the following as part of the Business Process Blueprint phase:
  • Define specific requirements and needs associated with all workflows, checklists, business logic, triggers and notifications
  • Analysis of how new business processes will impact specific the organization employees, departments and workgroups
  • Gain an understanding of the expected impact of the newly designed business processes on the business
  • Definition of performance metrics used to measure each of the major business process areas.
  • Gap analysis of future process flow against software process flow
  • Identification of potential configuration and/or customization needs that will ultimately be factored into the final implementation plan and budget
  • Validation of business processes and identification of exceptions with various business units, as appropriate
  • Identification of regulatory requirements related to new business processes
  • Identify initial test and use case scenarios for software testing
  • Define Process Workbook to define and outline software design documentation
Step 4: Business Requirements Validation and Finalized Documentation
After creating a blueprint of the organization’s future business processes, EIS will refine the documentation, assuring continuity across functional areas and locations as well as alignment with the executive project statement. Once the finalized blueprints have been created, the high-level requirements will be validated across each functional area to ensure corporate-wide buy-in and support moving forward.

Fit Assessment

In addition to functional fit, EIS methodology also considers the technical fit of potential vendors relative to the client’s technical environment and infrastructure needs. The intent of this assessment is to evaluate technical fit and potential deficiencies as well as any costs the client would incur to support the new application environment. This multiple point technical assessment is facilitated by EIS via a joint workshop between the client and vendor technical teams to assess key areas such as network protocols, security, server OS, performance and scalability.
EIS assessment documents the client’s current environment, the vendors’ requirements to support their software, gaps between vendor requirements and the client’s current infrastructure, and other recommendations and costs associated with the assessment. The intent of this activity is to assess the strengths, gaps and implications of migrating to each of the short-listed vendors.

Vendor Analysis and Evaluation

EIS assesses best of class vendors’ functional and technical fit relative to your needs, the team examines overall vendor viability, ranking and reputation. EIS considers its own industry research and experience along with information documented with previous engagements, as well as analysis third-parties when applicable. Key vendor viability criteria should align with your needs analysis and include the vendor application, integration, stability, product vision and support criteria. Based on the analysis completed earlier in the project, EIS identifies and recommends the potential software vendors that best meet the client’s various requirements. The initial “long-list” of evaluated vendors is based on the client’s highest priority requirements and key software differentiators. EIS conducts this assessment to differentiate the short-list vendor finalists based on decision making evaluation criteria in order to ensure the vendor evaluation is based on facts that support your choice in software vendor selection that has the stability and strength to support the client’s business in the long-term.
Vendor evaluation and software selection activities should include:
  • A custom develop requests for proposals “RFP” for software implementation, integration and business consulting services that align with the business needs
  • Establish a weighted priority list of critical business needs that vendors will align their software functionality to
  • Create “demo scripts” for vendors to present to
  • Conduct preparation and discovery calls with each of the short-listed vendors to ensure they are comfortable with the client’s requirements, demo scripts and evaluation process
  • Create on-line employee evaluation surveys based on the client’s specific requirements
  • Facilitate vendor demonstration sessions
  • Analyze software’s functional strengths and weaknesses relative to the client’s business requirements
  • Create Proof of Concept environments to validate final vendor and software decisions
This step in our process ensures that the client receives a balanced and neutral view of key attributes, functionality, strengths and limitations of vendor products to help the project team identify the best-fit software option.

Cost Analysis

In order for the organization to choose a software solution within its budget, EIS will conduct a cost assessment of potential vendors early in the project. This high-level analysis is designed to eliminate vendors that provide software that is too costly or risky relative to the organization’s business needs. The intent is that this initial analysis will provide a high-level budgetary estimate to help eliminate potential vendors that do not meet pre-defined cost criteria. This Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis will be the starting point for determining the vendor short-list. The TCO estimate will be further refined once an initial vendor decision has been made.

Readiness Assessment

The EIS team will conduct a series of activities to analyze and optimize employee participation, acceptance and address resistance to the potential software organizational changes.
In particular, the EIS team will:
  • Conduct an executive survey and workshop to ensure that the project’s objectives are aligned with the organization’s strategic direction
  • Facilitate formal and informal communications with the organization’s employees
  • Conduct an organizational and business readiness assessment to determine the largest areas of organizational resistance
  • Identify lessons learned from previous software implementations’ in conjunction with the organizations’ business and IT change initiatives
  • Assess employee competencies relative to recommended software skill requirements
The Organizational Readiness Assessment also provides recommendations regarding organizational change management, training and communications activities the client should deploy to address organizational deficiencies as part of the broader software implementation.
EIS will conduct focus group interviews at the organization’s facilities and in remote formats. In these groups, EIS will assess the following:
  • Address common concerns across the organization as well as location-specific concerns
  • Validate feedback from surveys, asking additional questions around areas of concern
  • Evaluate additional areas of potential benefit realization, such as required process changes and additional organizational management issues
  • Assess the level of buy-in, alignment, and support among the organization executive team and end-user community
  • Pinpoint areas and sources of potential resistance within the organization
A Change Impact Analysis analyzes the change in business processes and determines the change impact on jobs, roles and responsibilities and skill level by process. The magnitude of the change based upon number of users as well as the frequency of the transactions/processes is also analyzed. Risks will be analyzed to determine the impact on the organization.
During this phase the EIS team will complete a number of activities, including:
  • Conduct an initial change impact analysis based on the redesigned business processes
  • Conduct an Organizational Risk Assessment
  • Identify the future state organizational designs required to support the newly designed business processes
  • Create or leverage a change management database and work backlog system and process

Vendor Negotiations

Once the initial software vendor decision is made, EIS works with the project team to negotiate the best business arrangement for the client, including procuring the chosen vendor’s software at the lowest possible cost. As part of this task, EIS creates a vendor negotiation tactics worksheet, which outlines the terms of the vendor’s proposed offering compared to the terms that should be requested from the vendor.
Worksheet segments include:
  • Software licenses
  • Annual maintenance
  • Implementation services
  • Integration charges
  • Payment schedule
  • Contract terms
EIS advises the client team on how to leverage competing short-list vendor proposals to negotiate a favorable arrangement with the preferred software vendor. EIS coaches the client vendor negotiation team throughout the negotiation process, which typically lasts one to two weeks.
Based on the results of the analysis up until this point in the project, this negotiation exercise is conducted in parallel with either one or two of the vendor finalists.

Implementation Planning and Analysis

In order to enable a successful software implementation, EIS works with the client team and the chosen software vendor to develop a technology roadmap and high-level project plan. EIS uses it’s the best fit implementation methodology for the selected vendor and software for the organization. EIS consultants ensures that the plan includes considerations unique to the client, including resource availability, business trends that may affect implementation, etc.
This plan contains milestones and timeframes for major implementation activities, such as process workflow definition, configuration, testing, data conversion, training and so forth. It also outlines the appropriate phasing of functionality, either by geography and/or functional software module. Finally, this task defines the preliminary project governance structure and project budget associated with the recommended project plan.
We serve as our clients’ single point of accountability during an implementation by focusing on the following activities:
  • Certified project management focusing on risk, scope, cost, time and resources
  • Comprehensive process reengineering and workflow definition
  • Incorporation of LEAN methodologies, Six Sigma and other industry-specific skillsets into the overall transformation
  • Improvement of technical infrastructure
  • Alignment of selected software implementation with organizational requirements
  • Organizational change management, communication and training activities
  • Integration between the core selected software processes, systems and stakeholders
  • Definition of selected software measures of success
  • Optimization of measurable benefits
  • Functional and technical development and support
  • Customized workshops
  • Project recovery support
  • On-site Boot Camp training
  • Risk management and mitigation planning activities

Business Case Justification and Benefits

After software costs and benefits have been compiled throughout the project, the EIS team works with the client to validate and finalize the business case for the overall software implementation.
Elements of a Business Case should include:
  • Final software and implementation cost estimates, including customization, licensing, hardware upgrade, contingency and hidden costs
  • Quantified business benefits, including labor, non-labor and capital benefit opportunities, as well as a benefits realization plan outlining specifically how the client will achieve those benefits
  • Projected cash flow, return on investment, payback period, and rate of return for the software investment
In addition, EIS defines the specific functional and departmental areas where the client will achieve business benefits. The purpose of this task is to provide a justification for the software implementation, as well as to identify actions that the client should implement to optimize business benefits.

Final Vendor Analysis and Decision

Upon completion of the due diligence phase of the project, EIS incorporates project findings to help make a final recommendation and decision.
Final Selection Report should include:
  • Negotiation results
  • Organizational Readiness Assessment Report
  • Risk Management Plan
  • Functional Tradeoff Analysis
  • Initial Benefits Realization Plan
EIS also facilitates additional fact-finding and follow-up with the vendor as needed to validate the recommendation. At the conclusion of this task, the client team has a full arsenal of information, analysis and recommendation information to seek implementation project approval from its management and executive team.

About the Author

Brian Fletcher
EIS, Chief Executive Officer
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eclectic Innovative Solutions (EIS) since November 2015. Prior to EIS, Brian spent 20 years in several positions working for Perot Systems, Insperity, AMD and General Motors in various ERP and custom developed solutions. Brian has served in the US Army for 30 years and is currently serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard as a Field Artillery-HIMARS Battalion Commander.

Today, Brian oversees the strategic direction of EIS and it’s client portfolio and internally developed products and services. Brian holds a Master’s in Business and a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from East Central University. EIS looks to be a partners with clients and share in the return on investment through excellent business solutions with proactive support and training for clients over a extended period.