We have seen two different implementation methodologies emerge. When buying a new ERP system, you should make sure you understand the ERP implementation methodology proposed by the vendor or re-seller and its pros and cons.

1: The Traditional Method

The first methodology is the Traditional methodology since it has been around since the early 1980’s. This methodology uses the following phases:

  • Planning:

The project managers (customer and vendor) work together to form the ERP implementation team and plan the project based on the right ERP implementation methodology for the project scope and available resources. A kickoff meeting involves the entire team to review the project plan and communicate the company objectives for the project.

  • Education: 

The vendor consultants educate the implementation team. In this methodology, this is a very important step. Most advocates of this methodology believe the education of the core team is the key to the customer’s self-sufficiency and a successful project.

  • Design/Configuration: 

The consultants assist the implementation team in designing, configuring and setting up the new system and business processes. The vendor consultants support the implementation team, and the team does the work.

  • Conference Room Pilot: 

The implementation team tests the system in multiple Conference Room Pilots (CRP). The final CRP becomes a simulated “go-live.” At the end of the phase, the system is accepted by the team as ready to go live. The vendor consultants support the team’s effort. By the end of this phase, the customer team has established a complete understanding of the new system.

  • Cutover Activities: 

The implementation team plans the cutover process and trains the rest of the end-users on the new system. The implementation team performs the training, and the vendor consultants support the team.

  • Go-Live Support: 

The implementation team supports the end-user in the use of the new system. The implementation team provides real-time support. The vendor consultants are also on-site during the first month to support the quick resolution of new problems as they arise.

2: The Turnkey Method

The second methodology is the Turnkey methodology because it is clearly a vendor-led method. This methodology uses the following phases:

  • Planning: 

The activities are the same in this phase as the traditional methodology, with the vendor consultant taking a bigger role in the construction of the plan. Also, the vendor project manager is planning the vendor consultants’ time since they are involved full-time in the next four phases of the project.

  • Discovery/Setup/Configuration: 

Here we see the major difference between the two methodologies. In this phase, the vendor consultants review the current process, design/configure/setup new processes, and perform an initial test with minimal involvement of the customer team. The customer implementation team is only involved in discovery by providing input on current processes. In essence, the vendor team is providing a “turnkey” approach to system design and the setup of the new system.

  • Prototype Review/Education: 

In this phase, the vendor team delivers the new system to the customer implementation team and begins to educate the customer team through prototype demonstration workshops. In these reviews, the customer team is getting educated on the new system and the capabilities of the product. The vendor team identifies issues and adjusts the new system as needed. At the end of this phase, the customer team accepts the design of the new system.

  • Conference Room Pilot: 

In this phase, the vendor team leads the customer team through several phases of a conference room pilot (CRP). The last CRP becomes a simulated “go-live”. When this CRP is completed, the customer team accepts the new system and is ready to go live.

  • Cutover Activities: 

The implementation team plans the cutover process and trains the rest of the end-users on the new system. The implementation team performs the training and the vendor consultants support the team.