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Go Lean: Minimize customizations and reduce overall TCO in Oracle ERP implementation (Part 2)

To get an answer to the question raised in my previous blog Go Lean (Part 1), first we need to understand the primary reasons why organizations tend to develop custom code in typical Oracle ERP implementation program, and then what are the best practices or guiding principals they can adopt to go leaner.

Why Organization Customize?

Best Practices/Guiding Principles to Go LEAN!!

Lack of industry specific processes and features in the vanilla ERP solution

 

For the industry specific missing functionality, explore the edge products, and also partner with Oracle to work out a joint case to incorporate the required features as part of their next release or major patch set

ERP vanilla functionality cannot satisfy many unique business process requirements of the organization that business users are practicing in legacy system since many years, so numerous gaps get identified for customization during solution design phase

In case of major gap, the implementation team should instead of saying direct 'No' to business, explain them about how ERP will meet their requirements through alternate solution approaches. Understand their requirements and vanilla functionality gap, perform detailed analysis, and come up with multiple possible solution options with pros and cons, and take collective decision to choose an option which is not as pervasive as a direct customization (seems more effort, but worth it!!!)

Implementation team members avoid change in As-Is business process of legacy system, and introduce changes in ERP standard business processes to maintain status quo with business user

To avoid such scenarios, conduct the solution design workshops to bring functional consultants, business analysts and power users (business key stakeholders who has authority to make decisions for their departments) together to review the overall solution and to make conscious effort towards vanilla ERP

Integration of  the ERP system with all the available legacy applications and external systems, leads to development of multiple inbound and outbound Point to Point (P2P) interfaces

Evaluate and implement the appropriate Middleware solution to address integration requirements with plethora of legacy applications and external systems to avoid development of Point to Point  (P2P) interfaces

Development and enhancement of custom management and operational reports within ERP system

Evaluate and strategize towards an integrated Reporting platform or data warehouse at the beginning of the ERP program for all the management and operational reporting requirements, and avoid any new custom report within ERP. Only reports that need  dynamic data from transactional system might be considered in ERP, else always push it to the chosen reporting platform

Addressing the specific needs of individual department/business unit over and above a common ERP business process cutting across business lines

Always perform detailed To-Be process mapping with elaborated fit-gap analysis and business process reengineering with the objective of breaking the silo approach of departments and drive the business community towards a common platform and standardized processes

Inability to deal with specific statutory or regulatory requirements for the geographical regions  being rolled-out

Explore availability of region specific localizations of Oracle ERP to address statutory or regulatory requirements. If not available, raise Enhancement Request with Oracle Support

 Beyond what is stated above, there are certain ground rules which the organization must follow to go leaner on customizations:

  • Ensure senior management commitment and executive sponsorship to keep the ERP vanilla. And, this message needs to trickle down from them to all levels. There has to be strong questioning by the management in case of any major process change which results in heavy customizations
  • Ensure to implement robust Decision Making framework like preparation of Key Decision Document for foundation element and critical major design solution, maintaining key decision logs etc.
  • Ensure effective change management processes, awareness and focused approach of organization towards vanilla implementation by keeping the right mix in PMO (Program Management Office) comprising key business stakeholders as well as IT leads

For more on this topic, remain tuned for my next blog. If you'd like to share your viewpoints/experiences on this topic, please write back through the comments section on this blog for sharing your learning for a Leaner ERP.

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