4D Methodology

The EIS 4D Methodology is a proven white-glove, phased approach to ERP implementation. It consists of 4 phases: Discovery, Design, Development, and Delivery.  This methodology is an adaptation of the software development lifecycle.  It blends the right amounts of requirements gathering, architecture, development, agility, quality control, user acceptance testing, system administration, project management, and change management.  Over the years, we have found this approach to be extremely successful in implementing and extending ERP.  

Phase 1: Discovery

During discovery, EIS consultants meet with your staff to better understand your business.  While all businesses have similar functions, we find that each business does things slightly differently – this is your business’s competitive advantage.  To implement ERP correctly, we need to understand how each of part of your business runs, identify inefficiencies, and walk through your daily activities.  Our goal during discovery is to identify your business processes and requirements so that during the design phase, we can map these requirements to your ideal ERP configuration.  This ensures that your business goals and objectives are met when launching your ERP.

Phase 2: Design

During design, EIS consultants and architects meet internally to review their notes from the discovery phase.  It is here where the business processes are refined and mapped to ERP setup and configuration for each of the ERP modules.  Design is the perfect opportunity to change the way things are done to meet your business goals and objectives.  EIS consultants will translate your refined business processes into features, requirements, and project tasks, and will determine the optimal configuration for your ERP.  Designs are always discussed, reviewed, and refined with you before proceeding to the next phase.

Phase 3: Development

During development, EIS implementers configure your system.  They go through each of the modules within the ERP and configure the system based upon the requirements approved during the design phase.

If requirements cannot be solved with configuration, then EIS developers build customizations.  The architecture of these customizations is determined during the design phase.  Developers write customizations for the ERP as well as create automated unit tests to ensure that their customizations are working correctly.  These unit tests are not only used for implementation, but also as part of ongoing maintenance of these customizations after delivery is complete.

Lastly, EIS quality assurance staff develop test cases for each of the business requirements.  This includes test cases for both configuration and customization.  These test cases are used during the delivery phase to ensure that the configuration and customization meets the requirements.  Each test case contains step by step instructions along with screenshots, which is helpful for both quality assurance testing and user acceptance testing during the delivery phase.  We ask that you review these test cases to ensure that they match up to the documented business requirements.


Phase 4: Delivery

During delivery, EIS quality assurance staff prepares for User Acceptance Testing (UAT).  There are usually a few rounds of UAT testing, depending on the complexity of the configuration and customization and the number of issues found during UAT.  This ensures that the system is functioning as expected, meets the goals and objectives as outlined by the design phase, and is ready for go-live.  The UAT process has a dual purpose of facilitating training for your users, since the test cases explain exactly how to use the system to achieve the objectives of each test case (multiple test cases map to a business requirement).  Your account manager is introduced during this phase, learning your configuration and your business processes and establishing a relationship with you in preparation for transition to our managed services team after go-live.

Once UAT passes, the system is prepared for go-live.  This includes the final setup of the production environment, migrating data, and smoke testing to ensure that everything is setup in production properly.  A transition period is typically scheduled to ramp down the old system and ramp up the new ERP.

Once you start using your new ERP, your project team remains available for a designated period to help work out any kinks that may happen after go-live.  Then your project manager and your account manager help you successfully transition to our managed services team.

Project Management

Project management is a key part of the entire implementation process.  During the discovery phase, an initial project plan will be created with tasks for both EIS staff and your employees.  While the details of each of the tasks aren’t fully known until the discovery and design phases are complete, an initial project plan is created with high level estimates and timelines, and is used to set expectations as to who is responsible for what and when.  A primary point of contact is selected that acts as a facilitator for the implementation and is either able to make decisions and/or communicate with those who can make decisions to keep the project moving along and allow both parties to meet their timelines.