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Two Sides to Every Cloud ERP Adoption Story

Two Sides to Every Cloud ERP Adoption Story

Understanding Your Move to the Cloud

Cloud adoption is often as unique as your company culture. However, the common benefits of cloud adoption abound. You can save time and money while increasing security, availability, and scalability. If you choose a cloud-based ERP deployment, what do you need for a successful cloud migration? Do you need to have a Shakespearean team ready to write the future story of your company? Once on the stage, will your cloud adoption tale be a tragedy or a comedy? Let’s try to understand the people behind your move to the cloud to better write your cloud adoption plan.

  • Cloud experts (consultants, migration specialists, engineers)
  • Enterprise resource planning experts (ERP consultants, trained employees)
  • Decision makers (steering committee members, owners, leaders)
  • Cloud ERP users (internal staff, external support)
  • Data center staff (consultants, architects, engineers, help desk team members)
Cloud Adoption Cloud ERP Adoption Plan

Do you need cloud-savvy ERP experts on your team?

Make better decisions when moving your business applications to the cloud by balancing your decision-making team with your hands-on enterprise resource planning (ERP) talent. You can save even more time and money by supporting your in-house managers with ERP and cloud ERP consultants or experts when needed.

Quick Cloud ERP Adoption Planning Tip

An independent ERP consultancy can offer you an unbiased view of your decisions ahead, especially when it comes to newer technology and software releases. 

Who will write your first line of cloud code?

Choosing a cloud for an ERP system might begin with someone on your IT team who has a progressive vision for the technological management of your company. Or, an ERP system, like Epicor Kinetic or Epicor Prophet 21, might be purchased simultaneously with cloud ERP project team formation and then guided by key players, such as company owners, CEOs, CIOs, and onward.

Understanding Your Business Cloud Requirements

A cloud ERP vendor might try to convince you that Software as a Service (SaaS) is your best, even your only, option. However, before you sign up for a data migration to a public cloud, consider private cloud or hybrid cloud platforms

An ERP solution adapts to your unique cloud strategy. Once you understand your cloud ERP solution options and decide that your project plan should indeed migrate away from on-premise infrastructure, it’s time to solidify teams and team strategies. Your ERP implementation team needs both thinkers and doers.

The Thinkers

Your steering group will monitor the progress of your project ensuring it stays on track to complete on time and on budget. This group also will provide support for the project making sure needed resources are available to the project as needed and helping to backfill when those resources are taken from another part of the business.

The project manager is part of this group. Regularly the project manager will provide status reports and predictions for the immediate future of the project. An executive sponsor represents top management and is part of the steering group. That person will report project status to the C-level team. 

When there is a champion who was instrumental in moving the software acquisition along and likes their role keeping the business excited about the prospect the software will bring, that champion should be on the steering group. Some representation from departments and functions that will use the new software might also have a seat in this group.

The Doers

Your cloud ERP implementation team should include leaders from departments across the business. They are directly involved in the overall implementation of this software and its IT infrastructure and, in most cases, they and their peers will use the new software daily. Most of the people in this group will be full-time talent serving on the software project but will keep in contact with their former co-workers in the functions they came from.

Often people who were group managers get assigned to this group, but there is no reason to limit the team to managers or former managers. Team members should be passionate about the new ERP system, its infrastructure, and the benefits expected. They should be very knowledgeable in their particular function and have some expertise in the use of the ERP software and process flows throughout the business. 

Members of the cloud ERP implementation team will coordinate work in sub-teams that will test transactions related to their functional area. As testing progresses, cloud ERP team members will coordinate testing that extends to more than one function.

This group of people must keep in contact with their previous functional groups ensuring they know about any new changes or challenges. Managers of those functions will want to know the progress of the software implementation and will want to make choices when options in the implementation arise.

This team will help set up training and the training processes that will be used to share knowledge developed during implementation with the users who will need that knowledge to do their work with the new system.

Implementation team members do not need to be information technology gurus. They should understand some basic concepts related to IT and databases. This team will be directly involved in capturing legacy data and moving that data to the new software and, ultimately, to the cloud infrastructure of your choosing.

Look for the following indicators of a successful cloud adoption plan execution when choosing your cloud provider, your data center, and your cloud ERP implementation partner:

  • Is this a vendor trying to upsell you? Can a vendor-managed SaaS ERP system support your growing business?
  • Can your cloud provider meet your budget needs while adapting to your project timeline?
  • Does your cloud provider have a strong history and good reputation?
  • Does your cloud provider’s data center meet your needs for uptime and security?
  • Does your potential cloud ERP partner provide staff that will fit into your ERP culture?
  • Will the cloud provider understand your enterprise resource planning methodology and serve as a source of expertise for your ERP software and the full spectrum of its deployment options?

Will cloud ERP adoption improve your business today?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software implementation is a long, challenging commitment that involves dozens of people working together toward a common goal. Your go-live in the cloud will be one of the most rewarding and promising days in your company’s story. You can expect immediate results as soon as your team is empowered by both the software and its underlying technology.

To begin work as cloud ERP implementation team members, training is key. Your cloud provider will enroll your team in an in-depth training for your new cloud-based ERP system. Your team will learn how cloud computing works, especially from the cybersecurity aspect, and will quickly become astute through real-time support for the new business processes. Part of the training will be introductions to developers and system support personnel at your cloud provider. Implementation team members will not need to solve every problem but will know where to look for the answers.

EstesGroup provides on-premise ERP expertise while also fully supporting cloud migrations to private clouds, hybrid clouds, and SaaS projects. Are you ready to take advantage of internet connectivity to move beyond on-site servers? Do you need help building a cloud ERP plan for 2022? We have Epicor Kinetic ERP hosting, Epicor Prophet 21 ERP hosting, Sage hosting, and Syspro hosting experts standing by, ready to answer your questions about cloud migrations for both new and old ERP systems. Our experts can help you meet your business requirements so that you stay competitive while reducing cost across your infrastructure.

6 Tips to Save Time & Money When Customizing Your Epicor Application

6 Tips to Save Time & Money When Customizing Your Epicor Application

Here at EstesGroup, we do a lot of customizations for Epicor ERP and P21 systems. These include adding new logic to processing, adding / changing reports, updating screens to add custom information and creating new dashboards to simplify business understanding. We love customizing both P21 and Epicor Kinetic / E10 because it drives customer efficiency and productivity. But the process of getting things done can be frustrating when delays set in. With that in mind, I want to give you six tips to streamline the customization process and save you time and money!  

Epicor Application Time & Money

Does your Epicor application have you caught in a cycle of subtraction?

#1 – You should consider having an ad-hoc Statement of Work (SOW) setup with EstesGroup.

Doesn’t it always seem that the more urgent the request, the more roadblocks you encounter?

Often you want something quick, but you find that your current SOW has expired. Or maybe is doesn’t have enough hours for the customization. This delays your request and adds more work for you. That’s why we offer our “ad-hoc SOW” as an option.

If you have an ad-hoc SOW established with us, we can skip the step of creating a new SOW (sending emails, getting signatures, entering all of that into systems, etc.) and focus on getting the work done.

Action Step: Contact us and setup an ad-hoc SOW now. Then keep it active so that there is no delay if you have an urgent issue. We usually set them up for 12 months long and we will contact you for approval to renew. And we always get your email approval before starting any work so there are no surprises.

#2 – Have the actual user write up what is needed so that you get the most accurate version of the request.

Remember the telephone game? You whisper in another person’s ear, and they then do the same? What you find is that a request that goes through multiple people can gradually change. Then when the estimate comes back, it doesn’t match the real user’s needs and we’ve introduced more delay in the process.

Action Step: If you are the intermediary at your organization and are gathering the information, have the actual user describe what they want in their own words. Don’t try to interpret it for them or make assumptions you haven’t checked out.

#3 – Focus on describing what you want and how you would like it to work not the details of how the developer should make the code changes.

Often, we get customization requests where the customer focuses on describing the details of how the customization should technically be done rather than what the customization should accomplish.

That’s helpful but overlooks the fact that a developer may know a better way to accomplish the same thing. Plus, realize that developers are naturally prone to find solutions that will not require more work in the future. And there is also a good chance they may have done this same change for another customer.  

Letting them figure out the best way ensures they will offer a solution that doesn’t affect your next upgrade and is also simpler to do.

Action Step: Focus on what you want and how you would like it to work. Describe what the screens must do, or how the report should look. Trust the developer to use their expertise to find the best way to do it.

#4 – Use a standard set of questions for each customization request. Don’t settle for a brief email that can be interpreted several different ways.

We often let requests come in with partial information and the result is a lot of unnecessary back and forth conversations to get the information needed. Your time is valuable, so use a template.

We know that when the user answers the right questions, they offer the best information. And a template is a great way to simplify the process. Of course, we know that in some cases an internal discussion is best to gather the answers. But you can still use the template, right?

Action Step: Use this downloadable form to capture the request information up-front.

#5 – Be clear about what you want and don’t rely on assumptions!

Developers will make assumptions. It’s human nature and that will affect how they estimate the time to make, test and deliver the customization. If you can define those assumptions beforehand, it will reduce delays and improve the quality of the estimate. Here’s a list of common assumptions made by the developer:

  1. The customer doesn’t need to license any new modules to complete the solution.
  2. This area of the application hasn’t been significantly modified before.
  3. The customer has a good testing environment they can use.
  4. The customer has good data to test with.
  5. The end user will review and help test the solution.
  6. I’m the only person currently customizing the environment.

Action Step: If these assumptions are incorrect, include the information in your request so they include them in their thinking. Don’t make them guess!

#6 – Don’t wait to verify the developer has good access to your test environment.  

One of the biggest delays in delivering customizations is when the developer cannot get working access to your test environment. We’ve seen delays of several weeks around this problem and we know that is frustrating for you.

Plus, we are prone to assume that because access worked once before, that it still works. New versions of VPN software and minor configuration changes in your network will easily break the process used only several weeks ago.

Action Step: Provide connection information to the developer early in the process and have them test their access as they develop solutions. If you can validate their access yourself by emulating the developer, we highly recommend doing that so that you know your connection information works.

SUMMARY

Customizations are great but the process can be challenging.  As you use these Six Tips to Save Time and Money When Customizing Your Epicor Application, you will simplify the process for your organization and save time in getting the solutions you need. Plus, you will feel less aggravation in the process

Please feel free to share this information in your organization and let us know if you have any other suggestions as well!

Are you ready to begin a conversation about your Epicor application? Please fill out the form below, or chat with us now!

We have Epicor Kinetic / E11 / E10 & Epicor Prophet 21 experts on standby to answer your questions about every aspect of the application – from the software vendor through to the server!