Connecting the Dots: Sizing & Percentage Fitment for Package Applications - A Perspective
Sizing is an important aspect as it helps our clients and the delivery teams to be on a common foundation and understand the way the business needs of today and the future would be met by the package through package solution definition, configuration, customizations and workarounds.
Sizing is not only related to the cost of the project but is a good measure of assessing -
- What is the size of the business need of the client that need to be achieved in the application?
- What is that business functionality that is available out of box from the package?
- What is the business functionality that is available in the package but is not the current business need for the client?
- What is the future business need of the client that would have to be incorprated in a package?
- What are the features in the product roadmap that may meet the client future business needs?
While recommending a package to our clients, we are always concerned about answers to these questions. Besides this, we also need to look at the overall portfolio and technology footprint. I had touched upon the EXIST framework for Application Porfolio Management which can work along with sizing perspectives to give real value to our clients.
I thought that it might be a good idea to depict this "Sizing Concept" in a visual form for clarity. The figure below depicts the footprint of the 3 buckets of fitment for 2 different packages and same client needs.
This is the convention -
- X represents the coverage of out of box functionalities of the product meeting the client needs.
- Y represents the coverage of un-used out of box functionalities of the product that the client does not need.
- Z represents the coverage of additional customizations that need to be done to the product for meeting the client needs.
In the figure, the first package is an advanced package application (like Microsoft Dynamics AX) with a lot of functionality. The client need would be met out of box (X1) with some customizations (Z1) while a large portion (Y1) would remain unused. Taking an example, we can have a client who needs Financial Management, Procurement and Sales as a business need. This can be met mostly out of the box in AX (X1); but there could be some customizations needed in the product (Z1) around the way credit history needs to be verified and holds applied on Sales Orders. However, there would be lot of functionalities like Warehouse Management, Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Master Planning, Project Accounting, CRM, Service Management, Human Resources Management, Employee Self Service Portal, Payroll, Expense Management, POS/Retail Solution, etc. which are available in the product but would remain unused (Y1). These may be needed by a larger enterprise as the need for an ERP expands into other business lines and functions. Hence, this will work well for clients where we have a clear future roadmap for the advanced features which may/would be implemented in future.
On the other hand, the second package is a leaner product with lesser functionality (like Microsoft Dynamics NAV). Here the same client need would be met to a lesser extent out of box (X2) with more customizations (Z2) while a smaller portion (Y2) would remain unused. Taking the same example as above, we can have another client who also needs Financial Management, Procurement and Sales. This can be met to a lesser extent out of the box (X2) and would need more customizations (Z2) around credit history, holds, workflow, requisitions, reporting, etc. There would be lesser functionalities available beyond this in the product (Y2). Hence, this may be a good option for client whose needs are more or less defined and would not change or expand into other areas too much.
From the sizing perspective; this means that in isolation percentage fitment can't be classified as GOOD or BAD. It is the overall context of X, Y and Z which will help define the true sizing and fitment.
Does this make sense? Do let me know...would look forward to your PoV on this.