ERP Implementation Approaches: Phased? Big Bang? (A Few) Results Are In…

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Posted by: briansittley Comments: 0 0 Post Date: August 26, 2014

PanoramaLogoWhile it’s admittedly a very small sample, the folks at Panorama Consulting conduct an ongoing poll at their site asking the question:

“What ERP implementation approach did your organization adopt on your last ERP project?”

Here’s how companies (not quite three dozen to date) responded:

  • About one-third said they used what they call The Big Bang Approach – generally meaning, we brought the whole thing up ‘live’ pretty much all at once.
  • Nearly as many (29%) said they used a Phased Approach by Module. (We’ve found this is usually the most desirable approach, because it’s the least painful and stressful, but… unfortunately, it’s simply not always possible.  Each client differs and each needs to be queried on this one to determine whether the “phased” approach will actually work for them.)
  • At 23% they heard Phased Approach by Geographical Location – relevant, obviously, for larger organizations with multiple sites.
  • A Hybrid Approach was preferred by 10% – we suspect this means Phased where possible, Big Bang where not.
  • A Phased Approach by Business Unit was favored by 6%.

Again, an admittedly small sample, but revealing.
We always suggest to clients that a Phased Approach is the safest, most conservative bet.  Or at least, a Hybrid Approach by which we phase in the things we can, and Big Bang all together the things we cannot simply phase in due to business operational considerations.
So for example, it may be possible (and we often try) to bring up, say, Accounts Payable and Purchasing in one phase.  A next phase might be Accounts Receivable and Invoicing.  Sometimes, General Ledger (Financials and key financial reporting) can follow.
After that, it’s a crap shoot.  In our area of specialty – manufacturing and distribution – oftentimes, the rest, including inventory, must come on line together.  So Bills of Material, perhaps Routing, Inventory Control, and any number of related activities may have to be brought on line more or less together.
It can get ugly.
That’s why we like to warn clients: You’re gonna’ love at first, then you’re gonna’ hate us.  But in the end, if we all do our jobs, we’ll be back to the love.

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