The introduction of ERP software is a complex project for medium-sized and larger companies and can, for example, be divided into two phases:
The selection of an ERP software depends to a great extent on the individual requirements of the company. The degree of familiarity and the market presence of a software can only provide a secondary indication of individual suitability. First, an individual needs assessment should be carried out. In support of this, reference processes (best practice) are used, which are compared with their own business processes. On the other hand, the functional requirements resulting from the modeled processes can be supplemented by standard function catalogs. This first subproject is often carried out in companies’ own companies, sometimes supported by management or business consultancy.
Here, important decisions are made for the further course of action. In order to determine the needs, some company advisory services provide methods for the selection of software requirements. For this purpose, the business processes of the respective company, which would like to introduce the software, are recorded and derived therefrom, which the software in question must perform. This requirement profile is transferred to a workbook and published as such to ERP vendors. After looking at the market and inquiries to vendors, who generally demand the specification of the software requirements, the respective providers are included in a shortlist of only a few (5-6) vendors.
In addition to the requirements from the specification, other criteria can also be included in the evaluation of the providers, such as the performance or economic potential of the provider / system house. The selected suppliers are invited to present their product. The presentation should, on the one hand, provide an overview of the software, but on the other hand also address the requirements of the company and, if possible, contain a specific task. Finally, the providers are assessed and selected according to previously defined selection criteria.
The actual software introduction is generally also subject to the project authority of the user company. However, in practice it is often managed by the provider or a service partner of the provider, since this is often the case of a high degree of practical experience. As a first step, all business processes of the company are analyzed. It is then decided whether the process should be maintained or changed as before. Only when all business processes including their interfaces are modeled within the company or to suppliers and customers, these business processes are mapped in the ERP software. Subsequently, all required data (master data) are recorded in the system or, if necessary, transferred from an existing system, which is to be replaced. After several simulations of the business processes as well as a test phase, the real operation of the ERP solution starts.
Alternative introductory models
However, there is also an approach to the introduction of ERP systems, which is not based on this two-phase model, but uses methods of agile software development. In this approach, the iterative approach model Scrum is used together with Extreme Programming to gradually introduce individual parts of the ERP system. After each development step, the results are then validated and improved.