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Common Epicor Project Terms You Should Know

Common Epicor Project Terms You Should Know

It seems that every discipline has its share of jargon. 

You see it when accountants throw around terms like “EBITDA”, engineers speak of “TQM”, and I.T. staff reference “API” or “DMZ”.

These are the words and phrases used by specialists as they discuss their work. The beauty of this insider jargon is that it allows greater efficiency in communication, but it comes with the trade-off that it creates an ingroup and an outgroup who struggle to understand each other. And those in the ingroup are rarely aware of how it limits communication with those on the outside.

Epicor Project Terms Team Meeting

So, with that in mind, let’s consider six terms that are often used with Epicor projects. I’ve sequenced these common Epicor project terms, so they are linked together logically.

Test Scenario

When we implement new versions of Epicor, there is always a set of tests done to validate that the application is correctly supporting business functions.

A Test Scenario is the set of instructions, steps, and expected results used to do that. A “test scenario” might include who will do the testing, the objective of the testing, the sequence of steps to follow, the data entered the application, and the results that should be expected.  

This information should always be available in printed form so that it can be reviewed and used by those doing the actual testing.

So, when you hear the term “test scenario” it is important to ask several questions. What is being tested? Who is doing the testing? What is not being tested? How will we know the test is comprehensive? What sequence will the testing be done in?

With test scenarios, there are several ways they can be applied, and it starts with our next term.

Unit Testing

In an Epicor project, there are two general types of application testing. The first is “Unit Testing” which is focused on validating stand-alone functionality that accomplishes a single task.  

It answers business questions like “Can I enter a new vendor in Epicor and include all necessary information without issues?” or “Can I create a new Customer Payment Terms record?”.

So, we see that Unit Testing is always focused on a simple process that is relatively self-contained. It is simpler and usually easier to do but because it is so focused, there are usually dozens of unit tests required in a project.

But unit tests are not enough to accomplish the goal of thoroughly testing the Epicor application.

Cross-functional / Integration Testing

The second type of application testing, seen in Epicor project is “cross-functional” or “Integration testing”. While “unit testing” is focused on simpler processes, this type of testing is more complex. 

It will involve testing transactions that process through Epicor from start to end. This could include accounting transactions, customer order transactions, manufacturing transactions, purchasing transactions or payroll transactions. Each of these involves multiple steps involving multiple departments to work well.

A common example of “cross-Functional testing” is testing all business processes required to move from a Quote to Cash Received from the customer. Within these two endpoints there are many distinct business processes involving multiple business areas (finance, order entry, engineering, customer service, purchasing, production, receiving and shipping). 

This type of testing ensures that multiple business processes are supported completely by Epicor and that each business area in the organization can complete their work, validate the results, and manage exceptions that occur.

Together, “unit testing” and “Integration testing” provide the most thorough validation of the system. Which leads to our next term which describes how these tests are created and monitored.

Subject Matter Expert

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) is a person who is the most knowledgeable about a particular business process. They might be the Purchasing SME and understand each of the steps and requirements for successfully purchasing materials in the organization. That person would be able to describe the details and process for Vendors, Purchase Orders, Lead Times, Inspections, and Receiving of purchased goods. They literally are the expert on this area of the business and often have years of experience to back up their knowledge.

And SMEs are critical to the success of any testing done on a project because they know the business processes very well and can quickly spot gaps where the Epicor application may not be working well.

Typically, SMEs are responsible for specifying the requirements for how application software should function to best support the organization’s needs. And SME’s either build or review “test scenarios”.  

This ensures there are no unexpected gaps between organizational business processes and the way Epicor operates. Ideally the “test scenarios” are designed so that application testers simply work through the steps, gather feedback and in the process, validate the needed functionality in the application. The Testers shouldn’t need to be experts on Epicor or all the business processes. Their skill should be in following the steps and verifying results.

When it comes to “cross-functional” testing, multiple SMEs are often outside their area of expertise. So they will collaborate with other SMEs to design an integration testing process that includes the best scenarios to support company needs.

All this testing and effort is usually grouped into specific timeframes in the Epicor project. One of those is User Acceptance Testing.

User Acceptance Testing

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is the phase in a project where the application users work as a team, to verify that Epicor changes support all their business processes. Typically, the UAT is several weeks in length. During this time, selected application users will use multiple test scenarios (usually created by SME’s) to verify that all business processes are supported by Epicor. This will include both changes made and other areas that might be impacted.  Both unit and cross-functional testing will be used. 

All the results will be logged, and any exceptions will be documented and reviewed. The logged exceptions will become a list of issues that must be resolved before the organization can continue using the Epicor application.  

The list of issues is then prioritized, and work is assigned to resolve them. They fall into these categories:

1. Modifications to Business Processes to better use Epicor capabilities

2. Modifications to Epicor to better adapt it to business needs

3. Some combination of #1 and #2

The purpose of the UAT is to fully test the changed functionality of Epicor to verify it meets the requirements for supporting the business in its new form.  

This leads to a common question about the differences between User Acceptance Testing and the term “Conference Room Pilot”. Both terms are often confused.

Conference Room Pilot

A “conference room pilot” (CRP) is focused on testing the functionality of Epicor with the intention to identify the differences between it and the needs of the organization.  

This means that it can be done at two points.  

One point is before the system is chosen and when the organization is still in the procurement steps of purchasing an ERP.

The second point is at the final point of implementation when the focus is to confirm that the needed business process functionality of the organization is fully supported by the data, configuration and customizations made to Epicor.  

If the answer is “yes” then the system is moved to Production status. In this situation, the CRP is the final “gate” before the Epicor application is used for company operations.

The CRP does share similarities with a UAT. Both look at Epicor from end-to-end, both include demonstrations of functionality, and both often include non-functional testing (such as performance).  

But they differ in that a Conference Room Pilot is measuring where Epicor meets the business needs and where the gaps are, while User Acceptance Testing is confirming any changes made are working as specified.   

When upgrading Epicor from one software release version to another there is usually several User Acceptance Tests that verify that the Epicor application has no errors. Then as a final step, there is a Conference Room Pilot to confirm that Epicor supports the full business functionality needed.

Time to talk Epicor project terms with the experts? EstesGroup’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) consultants can save you time, money — & maybe even a trip to the dictionary!

Please fill out the form below, or chat with us now, to begin a conversation about Epicor project terms, ERP implementations, business management, cloud migrations & cloud ERP services (and everything else in ERP)!

 

Low Code or No Code: Citizen Developers on the High Road

Low Code or No Code: Citizen Developers on the High Road

I’m a project manager. So I was looking at some Project Management information on the web. And something caught my attention. I noticed that there is a new certification for a “Citizen Developer”.

Hmmm. What’s that about, I wondered. I found that this is a new persona that is being recognized in many organizations. And it ties neatly into something I recently blogged about. In my last blog entry, I discussed the trend of offering “low-code / no-code” options. These support creating reports, forms, workflow, adding new data tables, and application connections. But they don’t require knowing a coding language.

Low Code Platform Citizen Developers

Instead, application users can use them to directly customize the application to simplify processes and improve their productivity. And they are supported by the IT department at the same time.

Consider this common application life cycle.

Your organization implements a new business application (Epicor, Prophet 21). There are lots of customizations to fit the business need. Everyone is excited when it happens. Fast forward several years. Customizations are slow to appear, yet the organization processes continue to change. The screens and reports work but there are many changes needed. And there is a backlog of work for the IT developers to complete. Frustrated users look for options.

They begin creating custom systems outside the application to get their work done. Excel spreadsheets are everywhere. Users rely on tools like Microsoft Access to get their work done. Everyone works with multiple tools to do their job.

Then someone decides it’s time for a change. Let’s do a new business application! So, the cycle repeats itself. Ugh. This isn’t very efficient, is it?

But what if the customizations were faster and easier to do because more users knew how?

And the application evolved along with the business changes, not behind them? 

And there was less frustration and more productivity?

In the past there was always this “Superuser” who showed up in most organizations. They were the person in the organization that learned how to tweak things that were frustrating and repetitive. They weren’t IT staff. But they were quick to see things that could be improved and were willing to invest extra time to figure out a better way. You may be this person or know one because they are in every organization. 

But there was a downside. Often their work would be discouraged by the IT department. Why? Because the changes were not documented, or the data wasn’t included in backups. Or worse case, that person would leave the company, and no one knew how to maintain their changes.

What was initially a great solution would slowly become unsupportable and out-of-date. It was a natural process. The organization was always changing. And there were only a limited number of people who could customize things. So, the problem continued.   

We should all agree that business applications need to change so we can stop this wasteful cycle. We need business applications to:

  • Be simpler to customize/adapt to meet changing business needs
  • Be customized in small ways all the time, not only during initial implementation
  • Not need more and more IT staff to do all the changes
  • Allow those persons closest to the problem to have more input on the solution
  • Ensure that customizations are documented and integrated into the application for future-proofing
  • Allow users the greatest freedom to adapt, without damaging the integrity of the application data (security, quality, access)

And that’s where the role of Citizen Developers might contribute to a better future. But what is a Citizen Developer?

A good definition would be the right start. Here’s one I found on Gartner: “A citizen developer is an employee who creates application capabilities for consumption by themselves or others, using tools that are not actively forbidden by IT or business units. A citizen developer is a persona, not a title or targeted role. They report to a business unit or function other than IT.”

So, let’s visualize this persona in your organization.

There is this employee who likes new challenges and knows the business process well. This employee is willing to learn how to customize the application. They get started by watching some videos and learning about a new development tool. 

The development tool doesn’t require a coding language or week-long classes. It supports drag and drop changes which focus on what is to be done, not how it is done. The tool supports validating that information before it goes into the system.  

And just as importantly, the customization works when new releases of the application are installed.

This user can always experiment with this new tool and try things in a testing environment.  They can show other users the results, using their feedback to fine-tune the change.

And when it is time, they can coordinate with everyone to release the new functionality to other users who immediately benefit. 

The result is that certain processes are now simpler and faster. Users do less manual work and communication (Trackers / Reports) is improved.

This is the future we are looking at. And it’s not that far away. In fact, some of these features are now available in Epicor Kinetic and Prophet 21. But we aren’t yet recognizing the persona of Citizen Developer and encouraging it because we are stuck in the past ways of working.

For example, in Epicor Kinetic, users can adjust column layouts on and save them according to their preferences. That’s a start.

And those who want to delve deeper can explore Business Activity Queries, Dashboards and BPM’s. These take some time to learn but are powerful and flexible. Plus, they are part of Epicor and upgrade with it. And the learning process is becoming simpler because of videos and support sites.

There are a growing number of examples on YouTube of how users can do customizations. And a growing community of users that are willing to share their questions, knowledge and examples.

So, what do you think is needed for your situation, to increase the Citizen Developer persona? How could the concept help in your organization? Let me know your thoughts!

Rob Mcmillen ERP Consultant

Rob McMillen is a Senior Project Manager and Principal Consultant with EstesGroup, the premiere cloud provider for manufacturers and distributors. He has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years supporting multiple implementations of new ERP systems and leading projects. Because his mom was an English teacher, he grew up with a love of writing. Combined with his working experience, he has written articles for LinkedIn and User Groups, and has published numerous blog posts. He is also a co-author of a book on technology and working collaboratively. He currently lives in the DFW area.

Are you still wondering “what is a citizen developer?” or have other questions about new low-code or no-code platforms? Talk to us now about citizen developers (or any other topic on your mind)!

Introducing Epicor Automation Studio

Introducing Epicor Automation Studio

There’s always something new with Epicor Kinetic and P21. And here’s something new that is coming!

At the annual Epicor Insights conference, in Nashville, there was an announcement about “Epicor Automation Studio”. The word “Automation” caught my attention because it is a popular term right now. It can describe everything from complex machinery in the factory or warehouse to event-driven even software that runs on the desktop (like the inbox rules in Microsoft Outlook). 

Epicor Automation Studio

All these automations are designed to reduce the mindless tasks that we humans often do, so we can ideally spend more time on Facebook work and being more creative/human! For hundreds of years we’ve automated the physical world (washing machines). Now we see increased automation of our digital worlds to better fit our personal needs.

So, how does Epicor Automation Studio help? 

Here’s what we heard.

  • It is a low-code/no-code toolset for P21 and Kinetic
  • It will support integrations between Epicor and other applications

This sounds interesting. We all know that there are significant needs for “integrating” various applications. I discuss this topic of “integration” with Epicor Kinetic and Prophet 21 clients weekly.  

Often the need is to integrate EDI, e-Commerce, scanners, shipping packages, factory floor vending, or third-party applications so that they work seamlessly with Epicor and P21. So, anything that would simplify that effort would be great!

A quick “google” check helped me find an Epicor article about Epicor Automation Studio, here. It is just an introduction and discusses, in a video, how “Citizen Developers” will be able to use this new tool (I will discuss these Citizen Developers terminology in another article!).

This Epicor article adds more information about what Automation Studio does.

  • Helps bridge the business / IT gap
  • Connects Epicor / P21 to thousands of applications
  • Allows Epicor users to share and store automation “recipes”  

What is Epicor Automation Studio?

At first glance it sounds like an Epicor version of Zapier. Zapier has been around for many years. It’s a subscription cloud service with pre-built connectors that allow a non-developer to link applications, so they share information. This involves picking two software products from a list on the screen, determining what actions you would like them to do and selecting it.  

The beauty is that it focuses on “what” you want to do without requiring you to know “how” it is done.

Each Zapier process starts with a Trigger and is then followed by multiple steps to complete it. As a user you just click on options to define the one or more steps. It’s intuitive and flexible.

I’ve seen Zapier used to send texts every time you get an email in your Inbox from a key customer or open a help desk ticket if a message has certain words in it or send updates from your Contacts to Salesforce or load new information onto a website page. 

However, Epicor Automation Studio will need to handle more complex situations that involve Orders, Customers, Parts, User ID’s, Jobs, Vendors, and Purchase Orders. And to do all of that, there will have to be underlying processes that likely use Application Programming Interfaces (API’s).

Today, it would take a good C# developer to integrate an application with Epicor using API logic. That skill involves knowledge about the plumbing between the two applications and also the time to fully test it. 

And that’s why Epicor is moving this direction. They realize that automation is a growing trend. Particularly the trend to involve Epicor users in more of the work that has traditionally been an IT function.

We’ve already seen some of this where Epicor allows users to customize their menus, favorites and screens in Kinetic and P21. For example, in Kinetic, users can rearrange data columns when displaying information. Then they can save the format for future use. Every time they access this data, it appears in their preferred column sequence.  

Another area, we see, is the use of Business Activity Queries (BAQ’s) in Epicor products. BAQ’s do require more technical knowledge than a screen customization but have opened the door to some end users creating custom dashboards and reports (SSRS). For those who are not developers they offer a simpler way (point and click) to display information and improve productivity.

What is interesting is how widespread this is. In almost every organization there is at least one non-IT person, that has decided to invest time learning how to create BAQ’s, Reports, Dashboards and even BPM’s. I’m always amazed and grateful for their skills because they are the real changemakers! 

With Epicor Automation Studio, the trend continues where we see several business changes that are merging.  

  • The first change is the widespread use of point and click interfaces (who doesn’t have a cell phone?).
  • The second change is the introduction of low-code/no-code tools to automate and accomplish more without having to know the details of the system.  
  • The third change is the sharing of information (“recipes”) with others, so they don’t have to start from scratch.

While there will always be work for those who are highly technical you should expect to see more of the application customization shifting to tech-savvy end users who know what the business needs and have better tools to implement those changes. So get ready.

Who knows? Maybe someday you will start a new job and use a “studio” to design your digital workspace to your personal preferences. That would be interesting, right?

Ask the Author About Epicor

Rob McMillen is a Senior Project Manager and Principal Consultant with EstesGroup, the premiere cloud provider for manufacturers and distributors. He has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years supporting multiple implementations of new ERP systems and leading projects. Because his mom was an English teacher, he grew up with a love of writing. Combined with his working experience, he has written articles for LinkedIn and User Groups, and has published numerous blog posts. He is also a co-author of a book on technology and working collaboratively. He currently lives in the DFW area.

Rob Mcmillen ERP Consultant

Rob McMillen
Principal Consultant / Project Manager at EstesGroup

Ready for digital transformation? Talk to us using the chat, or fill out the form below, to begin a conversation with our Epicor Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) consultants!

Understanding the Value of a Project Manager

Understanding the Value of a Project Manager

Project Management & the Future of Your Business

In the next 5 years almost 88 million people around the world will be working in Project Management. More importantly, project-oriented activity will have reached $20 trillion in value. With this many projects and this much value in play, the success and value of projects is a high priority. Yet many leaders don’t appreciate the value of using projects and see them as the exception to the normal business process. Why is this?

At a high-level there are two types of efforts a company undertakes:

1) Operations:

Running the organization

2) Projects:

Changing the organization

Project manager leading project management team

The first type of effort is day-to-day. It includes sales, customer service, finance, manufacturing, and IT. It focuses on efficiency, productivity, and speed. And that focus is mostly short-term. For success in operations the organization depends on command and control to get results.

The second type of effort is more about the future of the organization. It is about adaptation, innovation, transformation, and longer-term value. Its focus is medium to long-term. It is successful when it is led by entrepreneurship and collaboration.

Both efforts require teamwork, but one focuses on continually tuning the current environment and the other focuses on adapting to the future. And while Operations keeps the organization afloat, it is not able to alone ensure the survival of the organization. The reason is that change is permanent for most industries because of competition, government rules and disruption. More efficient Operations help but cannot create the cultural and operational changes necessary to stay relevant in the market. That’s why anticipating, managing, and driving strategic change has become a top priority.

So, if strategic Projects are essential how does an organization ensure that they are successful?

It’s no secret that less than 40% of most projects are successful. And everyone has a story of a failed project, right?

To avoid these failures, there are many things that can be done. One of the most important is to develop Project Management skills in the organization. And those skills need to be practiced by both Executive sponsors and the Project Manager(s). It is not enough to put someone in charge of a project, they need to be skilled and supported to ensure success. Then the organization gets the real benefits of project management.

And what are those benefits? I would offer that they always include these eight items:

Clear Ownership for Project Success

Team members of the project are working towards a common goal, but they focus primarily on their individual responsibilities. The Project Manager is always considering the overall project, the resources, the upcoming tasks, the costs, the risks, communication needs and schedule. They look above the day-to-day activities to see what is happening across the project and the future. This provides clear ownership and a chain of command for the organization.

Project Organizing and Planning

The Project Manager works with the team to create and track schedules and budgets for the project. They also provide clear direction and expectations for the project team, steering committee, and end-user involvement. The organization knows that someone is continually reviewing progress of the project so that issues can be addressed earlier and more efficiently.

Project Accountability

The project team makes commitments, and the project manager holds them accountable for those commitments usually on a weekly basis. The team knows they have to provide updates to the project manager on their progress. This protects the organization from delays, extra costs and missed steps.

Project Scope / Budget / Schedule / Resource Management

Every project has a risk of either expanding or contracting the scope of the effort which can lead to missed objectives. It also has a budget and a schedule that should be monitored continuously. The Project Manager guards the scope of the project and ensures that objectives are met within the parameters of time, cost and resources. They know the best methods for tracking each of these and reducing the risks entailed. The organization is better protected from wasted efforts and missed objectives which can cost thousands of dollars in rework when a Project Manager is at the helm.

Project Rigor

Projects are complex and expensive. A Project Manager has invested (and continues to invest) time in learning and applying best practices to each project. They bring prior project experience and skills that are not found in other members of the project team or sponsors. They know how to manage project risk, scope creep, and organizational politics. They understand project measurements like Earned Value, Cost Performance Index, Schedule Performance Index, Planned Value and the variances to track. Because of this, organizations reduce the risk of project failure when they have a competent and focused Project Manager involved.

Team Building

While accomplishing the objectives of the project is a priority, that happens best when the project team is working well together. Building relationships of trust and negotiating conflicts is part of the job of the Project Manager. They know the stress incurred during projects and help ensure a healthy working environment that engages and values everyone. Organizations improve the quality of the results when the Project Manager is building and supporting the team responsible for delivering the project.

Communications

Most projects have multiple stakeholders, a sponsor, a customer, internal/external resources, a steering committee, and vendors that must coordinate to accomplish the project objectives. Ensuring that these participants are informed and kept up to date is a key role of the Project Manager. They use email, phone calls, status meetings, Zoom-type meetings, text messages and one-on-one meetings to ensure that everyone is informed to perform. There is no one approach to communication and organizations benefit from the focused communication that a Project Manager brings to the table.

Change Management

Completing a project is only part of the success of a project. The other is that the end-customer needs to be prepared for the changes that the project brings. The ability to educate and prepare for change is more important than most realize. Many projects are successful on one hand yet fail because the organization never adopts the solution. A skilled Project Manager brings a change management strategy and rigor to the effort. They are working with the customers of the project to ensure that the solution is accepted, that customers are trained to use it and that there is ongoing support for the solution. Organizations that have a robust Change Management process led by the Project Manager increase the impact of the project on organizational performance.

Project Management Value Gears

About the Author

Rob McMillen is a Senior Project Manager with EstesGroup. He has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years supporting multiple implementations of new ERP systems and leading projects. Because his mom was an English teacher, he grew up with a love of writing. Combined with his working experience, he has written articles for LinkedIn and User Groups, and has published numerous blog posts. He is also a co-author of a book on technology and working collaboratively. He currently lives in the DFW area.

Are you in need of a project manager?

Do you need help with planning your project or ensuring that your plans are successful? Having a good PM (project manager) is a win-win for your organization. EstesGroup consultants have the project management experience to keep you on time and within budget. Sure, you could post project management positions and hire to boost your internal resources. But think about this: our services have been trusted for nearly two decades by thousands upon thousands of people, and time is of the essence when approaching even the most simple project life cycle. Projects require both hard and soft technical skills, and even though each case is unique, our proven project management methodology will bring you the human talent necessary to optimize your business, saving you precious time. EstesGroup project management focuses on the people on your team. Let’s talk now to get your project good people, good methodology, and a good future.

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!