This is part 3 of a 6 part series. See the entire series here.
ERP System Development
Like any development project, development does not begin with actual development work. Each member of our software development team here at PC Bennett Solutions has a wise quote on the back of their business cards. It reads, “First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.” Development must not begin until proper planning and documentation has been done. If not, a severe waste of time and energy is sure to follow. This is why the software development process begins only after the Discovery and Design phases have first paved the way.
What’s in the Development Phase?
The objective for the development process is to prepare the new system environment for data migration & validate against requirements. As part of this, the development process includes establishing a testing environment and developing user skills. Here are some steps to make that happen:
Modern ERP systems have a great amount of flexibility built into them and there can be a variety of approaches that are possible to address the way customers want to run their businesses. Although Acumatica is very customizable, even at the user level, sometimes during the Discovery and Design phases the implementation team in coordination with the project team determine that some level of customization of the ERP is required to best meet the customer’s needs. Here, the implementation team will build, deploy, and test any required features that were identified during the design phase. This includes modifying or building new screens, developing new processes that fit the ERP system, writing new reports, and building system connections.
Configure the Go-live System
All of the decisions made regarding needed configurations in the design phase get deployed here. This is where the implementation team will load the chart of accounts, as well as any static data such as the customer master, item master, vendor master, historical financial activity, etc…
Other configurations such as formatting the chart of accounts and sub accounts, as well as setting any numeric sequences for customers and vendors will also be done. Customer classes, vendor classes, item classes and deferral codes for deferred revenue situations are also examples of areas that will be set up during the development phase.
Simulate a Live Environment
Now that a lot of the data has been added to the system, it’s time to run a conference room pilot – walking through the entire order to cash cycle for the first time in the new system. This preliminary simulation of the live environment is important in providing another opportunity for the implementation team to test the design of the system to see that it meets the business requirements.
It also offers a great deal of training value for the project team, who can now use the new system risk-free with their own data. From generating and sending a quote to reporting the results of the sale, the goal is to have everyone agree that the system has been configured in a way they want it to run the business. It’s also important that the project team understands how they will use it to do their jobs once it goes live.
The implementation team in conjunction with the project team will look at the results of the conference room pilot testing to determine whether the system is ready for go-live.
Develop End User Training
Now that the approach to using the system has been developed the project team should create training material for the end users. The members of the project team should be subject matter experts in their area of the business and should prepare the training materials for their areas. The procedures developed earlier should be the foundation for the training so that the users learn to use the system in the way the project team designed it to be used.