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Article: System Startup - Part 2 of 5
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Centralized vs. Decentralized

 

Another big issue that faced the team was whether to centralize the application or distribute the application over servers at key points throughout the 28 locations. A decision was made to centralize the application at Microelectronics headquarters in Allentown, Pennsyl­vania, and have everyone access the main application via network connection. This simplified application maintenance, upgrade, and security issues on both the client and server side for all involved.

The Business vs. CIO—Who Is Running This Show?

 

One of the key struggles in the planning process was bring­ing together the two major factions, the business and CIO, involved in this implementation to work together as a team. Each had its own viewpoint, agenda, issues, and ideas re­garding how to implement the new ERP technology.

CIO was most concerned with the technical end of the process. Their emphasis was on database architec­ture, connectivity, hardware, and systems maintenance activities. Their key focus was the efficient installation and operation of "the system."

The business was most concerned with running the day-to-day activities of planning, manufacturing, ship­ping/receiving, purchasing, and billing. Their key focus was on making sure we can satisfy customer needs and make money.

Needless to say, it was quickly realized that neither camp would be successful implementing this ERP system alone. Therefore, core teams were formed consisting of both busi­ness and technical personnel involved in all aspects of the planning, development, integration, testing, and cutover activities. As the project progressed, this concept was used in all areas to enhance team effectiveness.

The Core Team—In the Beginning...

The core team mentioned above consisted of individuals with core competencies needed to handle business and systems issues in segmented into six functional areas: manufacturing, finance, logistics, sales and marketing, quality, and purchasing. Teams included systems analysts (SAs), whose main function was to provide core old and new systems expertise, and business analysts (BAs), whose function was to provide business process and needs ex­pertise. SAs and BAs working together with Oracle sys­tems experts laid out the initial groundwork for both how the system was to function and how the business was to use the system. This was a very painstaking process, which included the following major work areas:

      Documenting both old and new system functionality

      Performing gap analysis between old and new sys­
tems to determine what could and could not be done

      Developing procedures and documentation showing
how data was to be converted to the new system

      Rewriting business processes where appropriate to
better utilize new system functionality.

This in itself was a major undertaking and quickly it was realized that in order to be able to completely un­derstand, document, and test all the areas required, a broader base of experienced people would be needed.

Assembling the Troops—Internal

 

In order to make this implementation happen, represen­tation from all locations had to be made available to assist in the planning, testing, and cutover activities to make sure each location's processes, systems, and issues were ad­equately covered. This was accomplished through the use of extended team members (ETMs). To be an ETM, one had to be a key resource with strong knowledge of their locations current systems and business processes. ETMs on a part-time basis supported the core team in critical planning, testing, and cutover activities. ETMs were se­lected from each location by functional area based on that location's needs and were trained in the new systems. Once trained, they participated in critical needs assessments and "day in the life rehearsals" to help test critical functional­ity and provide feedback needed to resolve problems.

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4  


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