Companies undertaking implementation of C/ETRM systems seek to reduce the risk of delays and exceeding budget. Actively collaborating creates a foundation for finding effective solutions and an environment where both vendor and customer have skin in the game and failure is not an option. To accommodate this process, following an iterative implementation methodology such as an Agile process is imperative. This approach provides flexibility and adaptability to changes that invariably arise during the process and is designed to deliver small “wins” that demonstrate success, project momentum and therefore a positive customer experience.
The Core of an Agile Implementation Concept
Selecting the right C/ETRM solution is critical to achieve a Return-On-Investment, however, that is only part of the journey as that software must still be properly implemented. The Agile approach originated from the software development space but has proven to be effective when used in enterprise implementations like C/ETRM with great success. At the core of the Agile implementation concept is to continuously design, test and implement smaller parts of the system, and then move on to the next part.
Business users are part of the implementation team and responsible for their areas. The key is keeping those business users involved and in constant communication with the implementation consultants, by having them relay requirements to consultants, perform and document testing, etc. When it comes to on-time and within budget delivery, the vendor must commit to making experienced and knowledgeable consultants available, who can engage with the customers’ team as a partner to achieve the desired results.
Prior to following an Agile methodology, a lot of time would be invested by the customer to document business process flows and by the vendor to digest them and validate their understanding. This was a slow and therefore an expensive process.
Business User and Consultant Interaction
With an Agile implementation, requirements gathering starts with meetings where the business users showing the consultants the transactions being performed today. The consultants then show the users how those transactions would be performed in the C/ETRM system “out of the box” and the differences would be discussed. If “out of the box” would not work, the business users explain the problem to the consultants.
While documentation with Agile is much less formal, the difference will be documented in a gap analysis. Next, the vendor will configure the system to resolve each use case. Finally, those resolved cases are shown to the users for confirmation that they would work. This approach is relatively fast and often done in sprints of 2-4 weeks. The important point is that consultants are in front of users at least every two weeks with the latest updates. These updates would then be tested in the sandbox and any problems fixed immediately.
In summary, the key takeaways from the Agile implementation process for enterprise software like C/ETRM is 1) that meeting with the actual business users to actually see their current process greatly accelerates the development of requirements compared to traditional methods of documenting requirements, and 2) by keeping configuration and development cycles short, e.g. in 2-4-week sprints, problems get caught early by the users, and they don’t compound.
As a result, an Agile-like implementation methodology can greatly reduce the risk of enterprise software implementation project not being on time and budget.