We often want our financial systems to come out of the proverbial box with a switch that turns everything on just like we want it. While this works with our TV, microwave, car, and other devices this just is not the case with business software. Over time every business will go through optimization efforts to fine-tune, reduce waste, and improve the data they have for making decisions. The question is: What is the best optimization approach and roadmap for your business and solution being implemented? This editorial surrounds the crawl, walk, run (Evolution) versus immediate integration and automation (Revolution) approaches as part of your planning and execution of a new ERP implementation effort, which is typically a revolution in systems all by itself.
The Evolution or crawl, walk, run approach enables a manual effort which may include exports and imports typically using Excel to tie systems together immediately following a new ERP implementation. This approach saves time and money up front on the technical side but can increase labor costs at go-live if the volume of transactions is high or the complexity of the data being manipulated between the two systems is cumbersome. If it turns out that an integration does not require a lot of manual intervention, it may never have been needed in the first place. In this instance, automating a process during implementation would have been extra money spent that could have been spent elsewhere. The benefit of the evolutionary approach is that you wait to see where the automation and refinement of processes needs to be as opposed to analyzing them upfront and deciding without knowing where those problems may actually reside. The evolutionary approach really boils down to the optimization of your systems effort over months or even years depending on the simplicity of your processes.
The immediate integration and automation, or revolutionary approach optimizes your processes before go-live or immediately thereafter. Immediate integration requires time in the development effort to design and develop interfaces that will link systems together. This means that during your system testing and user acceptance testing you were evaluating how two applications can be integrated together through middleware. Therefore, eliminating the need for manual exporting and importing of files or duplicating data across systems. This approach is mandatory when the volume of transactions or the complexity of a process far exceeds the manual capacity of an organization.
The challenge with a revolutionary process is that if the data is complex and the time spent during system testing and user acceptance does not verify 100% of the integrations being accurate and complete. If the data that one processed from one system to the next is what the business needs for reporting and transaction processing, then rework or additional work will be needed, thereby increasing costs. At the time of user acceptance testing, many organizations know exactly or close to exactly what they’re getting with the system and generally the shortcomings in reporting which can be a very large gap when coming through a business process. Reporting truly shows the data that is missing if an integration did not consider certain data elements from one application to the next, thereby requiring rework and more costs.
Roghnu’s typical approach to optimization is evolution. We find that most of our customers benefit from optimizing their systems after go-live rather than delaying the use of the software. Further, the fact of implementing an A better understanding of the areas of improvement are delivered simply from moving to Sage Intacct. Many of the areas that cause pain to an organization that are switching over to a new more modern ERP simply vanish. This makes the integrations and even the potential of just downloading and uploading data far easier than what they were with previous solutions. Further, many of the issues within an organization actually go away leaving capacity available for more value-add tasks such as identifying more opportunities for optimization post go-live. When considering a crawl, walk, run approach versus an immediate integration and automation approach, a company needs to look at their overall business optimization effort pre and post go-live along with a well thought out roadmap for their future state enterprise to be able to scale or automate their business processes and systems integration efforts.