In an effort to become more flexible and competitive, companies are migrating from legacy systems to integrated business management package software products. These products represent the future for companies that need to streamline their business processes and improve the sharing of information in order to compete in the rapidly evolving business world. Yet adopting a package software solution is not a process to be taken lightly, and this critical change can represent a tremendous investment of time and resources.
Most corporate officers charged with purchasing package software products are not experienced buyers, and there is very little information available to guide you through this process. Enterprise-Wide Software Solutions is the thorough tutorial and lasting reference you need to help you implement, use, and manage these powerful tools. This book provides a basis for planning and managing expectations among all relevant groups--corporate management, information technology staff, users, outside consultants, and the software vendor.
Companies are investing significant amounts of money and time to implement business package solutions. This book helps you reduce these costs and hours to more reasonable levels. Crucial topics--budgeting, project team organization, cost-justification, customization, outsourcing, reengineering, testing, training, and more--are covered in detail, allowing you to concentrate on the selection process, implementation strategy, and package software product that is best for your company.
Foreword by Paul Wahl.
1. Making the Decision to Acquire a Software Package.
The Idea of Acquiring a Software Package.
Overcoming Resistance and Shifting Paradigms.
Is It Going to Be Very Expensive?
How Will the Company Benefit from the Acquisition?
Obtaining Everyone’s Commitment.
Planning the Selection Process.
There Is No Perfect Package.
Has the Technological Environment Already Been Predefined?
How Can the Selection Process Be Simplified?
How Can Products Be Compared without Mixing Apples and Oranges?
Arriving at a Consensus.
Can the Company Develop the Implementation Alone?
How Can a Consulting Firm Help?
Will Hiring Consultants Be Expensive?
Each Party Has a Role to Play in the Project.
The Role of the Package Vendor.
The Role of the Consultants.
The Role of the Company.
The Role of the Other Participants.
Contracts: Which Clauses Are Important?
The Role of the Integrator.
Who within the Company Should Participate in the Project?
Who Should Be Assigned to the Project?
How Many People Should Be Assigned to the Project?
How Can the Project Be Structured?
Where Should the Project Team Work?
What Does a Software Implementation Project Look Like?
What Results Can the Company Expect?
Is the Appropriate Technological Environment Available?
Should the Company Take Advantage of the Situation and Engage in Reengineering?
It Is Not Going to Be a Bed of Roses.
Monitoring and Evaluating Project Development.
How Is the Work Monitored?
Assumptions: The Pillars of the Work Plan.
Monitoring the Project.
Looking at the Company and Its Future.
Current Systems and Processes.
Training Key Users.
In What Ways Is the Company Different from Other Companies?
Planning for the Conversion of the Initial Data.
Evaluating Whether the Company Should Go Forward.
Simulating and Prototyping: Understanding How the Package Is Going to Work.
Adapt the Package to the Company or the Company to the Package?
Defining Package Parameters and Basic Tables.
Defining the Customization Required to Meet the Company’s Needs.
Requirements for Altering Existing Procedures.
Levels of Access, Security, and Control.
Pumping Up the Adrenaline.
Customization, Interfaces, and Conversion Programs.
Implementing New Procedures and Controls.
Preparing the Processing Environment.
Keeping the Project on Track.
Testing the Whole System.
Training Future System Operators.
The Time Is Drawing Near.
Establishing an Operating Environment.
Finding the Best Approach to Safely Changing Systems.
How Long Should the Conversion Take?
User Support during the First Moments.
Making Identified Adjustments.
Is It Possible to Improve the Use of the Package and Achieve Greater Benefits?
Contacts with Other Companies That Use the Same Package.
What to Expect from the Package Vendor Now That the System Is Working.
Will the Company’s Package Vendor Survive in this Volatile Market?
Lessons Learned through Experience.
Creating an Environment for Software Vendors to Install Their Product.
Interviewing Consultants When the Implementation Proposal Is Being Developed.
Requesting Names of Qualified Consultants from Other Companies.
Workshops and Meetings Outside the Company.
Evaluating the Software Package Documentation.
Requesting a Trial Period with the Product.
Setting Up an Internal Support Structure for the Software.
Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Managing the Project.
This book addresses the evaluation, selection, installation, implementation, use, and economic advantages of using business software packages. In the United States and all over the world, companies are installing software packages for business automation at an unprecedented rate: financial, manufacturing, distribution, and, primarily, integrated packages, which promise to cover all internal functions in one product. Most of the firms and their corporate officers who purchase these packages are not experienced buyers of such products and related services. This book establishes a baseline for planning and managing expectations between corporate managers, their information technology staff, and outside consultants.
The human issues are critical here--not the technical ones--and the human issues are less likely to change quickly. Although automation has become a tool kit for every manager at every type and size of organization, there is little material available to guide the journeyman in how to implement, use, or manage these tools. The distributed, integrated, automated environment has become an avalanche that threatens to sweep up the business community; it has already outpaced the educational mechanisms necessary to support it.
The book is a guide to what to expect when a company is getting ready to purchase and implement a new software package. It provides an "A to Z" perspective of the many technical and nontechnical elements that must be considered. It provides a framework for implementing all the bits and pieces that make up a system.
Experience shows that the real problems with business packages are comparability (evaluation and selection), evangelism (getting corporate consensus), training and motivating the end users, and maintenance (support, extensions). These issues are very well covered by the author.
This book can be read and used to establish a "common language" among groups of people who rarely speak the same language today: senior business managers, information technology managers, information technology key users and end users, and external business consultants.
Companies are spending significant amounts of money and time to implement business package solutions. This book can be of tremendous value to the business community by helping readers reduce the necessary costs and time required to install new company-wide software to more reasonable levels.