Welcome to our webinar on Epicor 10 Upgrade Readiness.
I’m Matt Thompson, vice president of professional services for the Estes Group. And in this Epicor 10 implementation training webinar, I’ll start out and just kinda talk a little bit about top 5 upgrade mistakes here before we get into the other details, that we see as an organization that you can certainly mitigate before you start down your upgrade journey.
Number one, not understanding what the upgrade means to you and your business.
What do we mean by that? Well, really simply, if you’re going to embark on an upgrade there should be good business decisions why. Either today’s ERP system that you are working with just doesn’t handle the volume of business that you doing or there’s new processes and technology that are available in the newer releases that’re going to be able to give you a more competitive edge or eliminate waste out of your existing processes today.
So making sure you understand what that Epicor 10 Upgrade is gonna mean to your organization to your people to your team and how you have to manage that. And the changes that that’ll have internally are very very important to understand and embark upon.
Number two, not taking change management and IT performance testing seriously.
We see this all too often where people dismiss and say, “Well, it’s the same company. It’s the same software.” Well, yes and no. It is the same company, but the software is ever changing and evolving. So even if you’re just in an incremental change, going from a 10 to a 10-dot-one which is coming out real soon. It-it makes a difference to make sure that you test make sure you understand the changes that are being there. Otherwise, there’s no real need to do your upgrade to begin with.
So, understanding those changes, understanding the Epicor 10 upgrade, understanding the impacts, testing it thoroughly and making sure that the business is all on the same page with knowing where that upgrade’s going to take you is very very important. Delivering training one-point-oh in a two-point-oh world. I’m sure you all know, Milennials and-and that age group is changing the way in which the world has to think about communication, training and information availability.
There are tools that make this extremely easy. I’m recording this right now on Camtasia, which is a fantastic little tool for a very inexpensive price to be able to help this. There’s also tools from Epicor and Epicor Knowledge Mentor that really automate the entire process of capturing end user procedures.
Making them available online, dictating, testing, the whole nine yards. So definitely leverage modern technology to make this process simple for your organization.
“Not moving proprietary components into open business standards.”
What we mean by that is, everybody has silos of information throughout the organization. I-I don’t care how big or small you are. There’s Excel spreadsheets that run this over here, but don’t talk to the ERP. Or there’s the that guy out on the production floor that just happens to know how this whole thing works, and nobody else does.
Those things need to be explored and brought into the organization, brought into the ERP, so that you can have repeatable and predictable processes. And more importantly, it captures information around those processes to know whether or not you’re winning or losing around those things. Are they really competitive advantages or do you find out that you’re losing money there? Is it okay to lose some money there because it truly is a loss leader that brings in that much more business elsewhere?
So understand what those things are, where do you have those silos other information or the bottlenecks of processes? To make sure that you can start to break down those barriers and open those up and become business standards, to be able to truly make management decisions based on factual information in real time data.
Number five. Assuming your internal tech people can pick up fifteen years of experience in a couple of weeks.
You know, average ERP systems last approximately 10 years before people either upgrade or migrate off to something different. So when your stop and think about that, if you’re one of those folks that still hanging out on Vantage Vista, uh, those products have been out a long time now. In the Microsoft stack that Epicor 10 now employs. And gets rid of progress. You have to understand that’s-that’s a leap in technology.
And your IT staff is probably behind the eight ball right now because they’ve been entrenched in Epicor and Vantage Vista and Progress for so long. So ensuring that your-your IT team has enough time and enough other outside people to reach out to to make sure that they can, you know, basically come up to speed in an adequate, timely manner to be able to do this upgrade. It’s going to be extremely important to your organization to be successful.
Cuz believe it or not your IT folks, um, you know, they might be in charge the servers and pushing the buttons and doing all that. But as you really start to look at the business and be able to leverage the information that they can extract out of an ERP system. They are the ones that can start driving business metrics and things like that for the management teams to really make some very, very insightful decisions on the way the organization operates.
So great stuff to think about in the top five here, as we can start to move over in preparing for your E10 upgrade. I’m a talk today about data migration verses data conversion. We’re gonna talk about process inventory and value streams, what those mean to your organization and how we look at and approach those. Epicor 10 Delta. There’s a lot of process, a lot a technology change that’s gone on in that product. How do you start to understand the impact the organization. Customizations. These can be your Achilles heel if you’re not real careful. And then we’ve got some bonus material here for you as well we want to extend your way.
What is data migration versus data conversion?
Well, very simply, if you’re on a version of like Epicor 9 at its latest release. You’re happy with your data, you know, those kinds of things. The migration process is built-in, um, to be able to move from Epicor 9 up into Epicor 10. And it takes all of your transactional history, takes all of your master file data and it brings that across. Now, what’s that mean to you? It means it can be a really simple step up if you’re already sitting at that version of Epicor 9.
So if you were a fresh implementation of Epicor 9, you’re a great candidate. You may have a small incremental upgrade to get your data up to the point of E9 that it’s ready for. And then after that it can migrate into Epicor 10 and be a seamless transition. Now, you also though need to be very happy with your data. It needs to be clean. It needs to have all the right transactions. We shouldn’t be seeing weird stuff happening in the GL. Or, you know, data dumps where there’s just things that seem missing or mysterious.
We want these things to be extremely clean. Cuz whatever you have today is what’s going to come across tomorrow. And mind you, it’s going to have to go through that migration process and if something just doesn’t fit right, it may throw a wrench into that. And if there’s a wrench thrown in then that means that you could end up with some data corruption. So you just have to be very cautious and make sure you truly understand your business and your business’s data to know if you’re a good candidate for this type of migration or not.
We can certainly help you understand that and help analyze and do those kinds of things when and where are needed. And we’ll talk about that a little bit later as well. The final piece is if you are controlled by certain agencies that say that you need X amount of years’ worth of transactional data to be there, um, migrations can sometimes then be mandatory.
Data conversions do not address transactional data. Data conversions are a master file and open transactional data only. So when we flip those gears over here and start talking about that data conversion, this is and opportunity to really get a fresh start, which is the final bullet point here. But that fresh start means who is a candidate for that? If you’re on anything labeled Vantage or Vista, you’re a pretty good candidate for this.
Vantage 8, you have to make a migration stop from Vantage 8 to Epicor 9, and then Epicor 9 to Epicor 10. Well, for those that have been following along with Epicor and the ERP transitions over the years, Epicor completely rewrote the financial engine going from 8 to 9. And then they also completely rewrote the way that your units of measure work from 8 to 9. So those two things right there are in bed with everything in the system, every transaction in some which, way, shape or form is touched by those two things.
So with those major changes that occur between those, how that migration from-from 8 to 9, and then 9 to 10 work, there’s a lot of risk that gets invoked in there. And there’s an awful lot of time now to where we or Epicor, somebody has to touch that data to actually process those migrations up and across. So this is where data conversion really looks good because now you can pull data back into your hands. And you can use the data migration tools and templates that become available to you from Epicor to be able to do this.
If you have years and years’ worth of data, odds are you’ve changed business processes as the years have gone and you probably have master file data or other transactional file data that’s in there that doesn’t make sense to the organization anymore. Could be product lines you have touched in a decade. The other thing, if you’ve gone through multiple upgrades before, every upgrade, it-it’s kind of like the old rule when you make a copy of a copy it’s just not as clear any more. It’s the same kind of thing.
As you go through upgrades, there’s always a little bit of static that gets introduced in there. So if you’ve gone through multiple upgrades, it may be time to get rid of that static. And-and really make sure you have a nice, clean conversion to go forward with.
And then the final piece here that we just want to highlight is, if you’ve got a lot of complex customizations. Those touch UD fields, UD tables, maybe BAMs or BPMs and all of that working together to do some, you know, major automations or things promotional, things for sales. There’s a lot of things there where customizations can have such a-a-a deep tentacle into your ERP system that it makes for a data migration to basically be impossible. And that brings data conversion back to the table where we can control and have some hands on and some interactivity with how that’s gonna need to go.
“Process Inventory.” So as we switch gears here, we talked a little bit about data and the importance that’s there. And we all understand that garbage in, garbage out. Well, as we really look at this, how are you processing through your business and how is that being reflected in your ERP system today. So the first step in this is making sure we understand what are all of your processes that are being touched by ERP and recorded? How are you doing that? Are they efficient? Where do we need to go with these things?
We want to make sure that by having a library of all of your processes defined, we now know what a regression test plan needs to look like. So we’re looking at everything as it flows through your organization and is reflected by that ERP system. And that way, when we test out these processes in Epicor 10, we can prove them by the expected results that we should be getting and that you are getting out of your current ERP system from Epicor.
Where can waste then be eliminated as we’re going through that process? So with all the new features and functions that are out in Epicor 9, Epicor 10, how are those features going to help your organization become more streamlined and eliminate that waste? Well, there’s a lot of opportunity for that. And in a lot of organizations, especially those folks in the Vantage Vista days, people didn’t necessarily go through a full implementation, or really look at what your processes were.
And it was maybe not with a full breath of-of education, provided to you in your organization. And you may have some waste in there, just simply because you didn’t know that there’s a better way to do things in the software. Well, that’s where out years of experience and everything else can come in to play, to be able to help you guys understand. Where are those best practices? What is business and industry doing today?
Because we are there. We’re on the forefront of that. We’re on the front end of technology with Epicor, but we’re also in 100s of business every single week. And seeing what they’re doing. So we’ve got your peers, we’ve got your competitors. We can understand and help you guys grow and eliminate waste and become more efficient as an organization. So knowing and understanding that is going to be a huge benefit to any organization that goes into that upgrade cycle.
So value stream scripts. If you think of value streams in your organization, you probably look at that. And-and if you use this term or this technique, you look at how value flows through your organization in dollars and cents. So product lines are typically one of the most common. [inaudible]
Basically, establish that. You know what the flow is for that product line and how it comes out the door. And in the end of the day, it’s going to hit your income statement in the GL, how you want that categorized, right? So that’s an easy way to understand what a value stream is. Now just flip that on its head a little bit and understand that instead of dollars and cents in the end, to an ERP system its currency is information. So how you feed it, what the processes are, how they flow through the software and how that comes out from the start, all the way to the finish line. That is where the process of an ERP’s value stream comes in to play.
So think about differences between make to stock and make to order, right? There are a lot of commonalities that are there in between. But the biggest differences are we’re not stopping to interact with inventory in the end. We’re shipping straight off the job, off the order and fulfilling that through shipment without ever having to touch inventory. Works great for areas that we’re not having to build, to repeat cycles those kinds of things.
So if you build a lot of one-off product and those kinds of things. Or small batch runs, just basically to order, and you don’t want to fill up the stock shelves and wait for the next order. Perfect example where that could really come in to play. And it’s vastly different from a make to stock situation, right? So those are two different examples of a high level of what an ERP value stream may look like in your organization.
And so where are those major branches of informaton? And-and how do you start to collect those to be able to understand what those look like? So to be able to do that, we have created some value stream templates. And I’m going to show you an example of one that’s already been filled out. And this is a real world example. And it does look a little bit messy as you start looking through on the surface. But I think as we walk through, you’ll see the simplicity and the value that the [coughs] organization of these processes brings to your upgrade.
So the first thing’s first. As we look down across the bottom tabs, these are the different elements of the value streams. MTS, make to stock, make to order, engineer to order, configure to order. RMA processing, service management, marketing, special projects, sales, production, procurement, shipping, receiving and finance.
Sales over through finance are basically a really, a common model that we need to work through. So rather than having to build those out in each one of those different scenarios, we extracted out what the common denominators for all of those were for this particular company. So as we work our way through this, we can see here that they’re using a lead integration tool with sales logics. They’ve got pipeline analysis, customer contact, imports that need to happen here.
So those are some things that we need to be able to take into account as they’re pushing these things into Epicor 10, right? By the way, this customer’s up, running live and happy campers after going through all of this. So we go down, we’ve got opportunity, quota entry verses sales order entry. So there were some questions there. Which tool and where is that going to come into? Whether we use opportunity quote verses pushing it straight into a sales order. And one of those answers is if you need workflow or taskless management, that doesn’t exist in sales order.
So that dictates where some of these things need to go. We’ll also notice here that they have a column here that says, “Does code exist?” So here’s a few customizations in catalog, pricing, promotions and wizards… Wizard dollars. And these are like your frequent flyer miles for your company, or your hotel points, rewards stays, those kinds of things. So if you think about it in that way, there’s nothing that exists out of any Epicor package. Whether it’s Vantage, Vista, you know, or even all the way up to Epicor 10 that has that kind of functionality.
So they had to write a customization using some UD tables and some BPM logic that looks at sales orders, looks at invoices and pulls the stuff together. And then puts a tally based on sales, based on invoice, based on payments that then creates a bucket of Wizard dollars for whoever that buyer is. And then that buyer is incentivized to be able to purchase different things that they might want. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for their company.
So it’s just a really neat inventive program that they put together. Well the idea is-is, “Hey. Man. That’s got some-some code that has to go with that. Let’s flag that so that we know to pay special attention to these things.” So as we kind of scroll down, you’ll see some basic stuff that looks familiar, right? Quote details and order details. We need the catalog, the product, we have to have the pricing, promotion and marketing campaigns. And that just refers back up to what we had before.
Capable to promise. Right out of the box. Epicor. When can we deliver this by? Do we have it in stock? Is it not in stock? Do we have it in the shop being built right now? Do we have it on purchase order? All those kind of things really come in to play to be able to help deliver. So as we go down we see that we’re just cataloging in order how we’re going to do this. Creating the sales order. Dealing with pricing. Coming down and working with commissions and promotions. Customization requests that may come out of what we’re looking at above, as we go through and-and prototype this stuff.
And we do proof of concept. So what are all those things? How do we track it? What are the inputs and outputs of those? And when it’s finished, what’s that end user procedure look like? And some of the more important things. Who owns it? And what’s the status?
So we can track this all the way through. Now as we bring that back and look at the MTS or the-the manufacture to stock process. We can come down and start to see, where are the little variations that happen on the MTS side of things. So here’s RIFQ coming from our customers. Maybe a new customer. So how do we deal with that once it goes through? Then, we have our quote details. So we got our same catalog process, everything else.
Our customers purchase order. Customer credit. So, do they have credit? This is where task management comes in. So they get that credit approval from the finance department. Then we can create that sales order. And we’re going to push or pull from the quote, depending on who’s doing the entry, based on who’s responsible for that customer. Those kinds of things.
So there’s some variability based on who does it. It’s built into this value stream. What’s that pricing? Maximum discount last year. So we got part advisor to show him some stuff. Dealing with promotions. Commissions. So again, just rolling this right down through, but then we’re going to start getting into production planning. Is it FIFO? Lot? Serial allocations. Shelf life monitoring. They do a lot of stuff for FDA type of things, where we had shelf life to deal with here.
Kanban jobs. Quick job entry for just getting things into stock very quickly. Is it regular job entry? Are we building something but then it’s still going to go to stock. Just a little more complexity to it, right?
So how do we go through this? Then purchasing gets triggered. And how they going to handle that? Now, once we get this all done, and shipping and dealing with inside manifest. Pack-out prototyping, receiving, quality assurance, production processing. So you start to see as we go down and down and down, it gets to be really long. But now we have a checklist of everything that we need to go down through.
So as we go through this, you guys are going to be receiving that sample and then you’re, or this sample right here… Which is actually just our template. You erase it. And then you start working through it. Well, what’s neat about that is, as you start looking at this, we can go through and say, “Alright. We’re gonna touch quote entry on week two, week four, week six and week eight, until we get this resolved.” Well, I’ve scheduled it in that way.
Now, let’s say over here, I’m gonna expand that quote entry out. I’m gonna say, “You know what?” Here on this third visit, we validated an awful lot of this stuff. So we’re feeling pretty comfortable with where we’re at on quote entry. The nice part about that is, is it’s grouped together. I can expand. I can contract. I can start seeing these things, and I can track my validations to say, “These have passed my regression testing. They’re ready for final EUP. And they’re ready for my final proof. Or my final, basically, conference room pilot acceptance testing to make sure that they’re ready to go.”
Now, the dashboard metrics then are gonna pull in. And on that standard process flow, if I come over here and do that on this very same one, just gonna fill in that these guys have been validated and we’re happy with our results. And now lookie here. Our dashboard metrics are starting to calculate our percent complete by functional area.
So one of the things that we do is we provide that tool here for the dashboard metrics already built against the standard product tab. You can rename that tab to whatever you want. Everything will still maintain as long as you don’t go in and play around with some of the formulas and things that are hidden behind there, some of the macros. But then once you start building out the rest of your tabs, that’s where we can duplicate this particular chart. And that way you can see, “How’m I doing on ETL? How’m I doing on other modules, other processes that I may need to have defined?”
And that way you can track your upgrade and the process right on down the path here. Makes it a really nice, easy, self-help tool to be able to become organized and get your mind wrapped around all of your processes that you have that need to be tested as you model into Epicor 10. Remember, where there’s new product, where there’s new versioning, it doesn’t that everything is just going to work as it does today. Screens may look a little different. You may find a bug. Granted it’s-it’s good software. But it’s not health and medical software. This stuff is not running life support.
So there are those realities that we have to face and make sure that you test em. Cuz if you miss em and you don’t figure that out until after you pushed “Go Live.” And you may not find that for a week or two or I’ve seen customers miss it for a month or two. Man, is that tough when it becomes something that’s critical. Two months in and you can’t roll back and you’re at the mercy of trying to get that fixed by Epicor.
So make sure you’re really well ahead of that curve. And this tool will help you organize and get there to do that. So that’s gonna be yours as a function of just watching through this webinar. And, um, as we go in and-and kind of continue on here, we’re gonna look at the next stage of things. So, Epicor 10 Delta. What does that mean to you?
So one thing. Technology. Epicor 10 is now 100 percent Microsoft. There is no more progress. So what does that mean? BAQs, BPMs and configurator are now no longer capable of 4GL. It’s all C#. So what that means, it’s those three things. If you have any BPMs that were written without using the-the, um, the [phonetic] Wizzy Wig. The-the UI. And just dragging and dropping. And-and picking things out of the pre-selected criteria. Those will convert and migrate over if you are doing an upward migration from Epicor 9.
If you are a conversion candidate, those will need to be re-written. BAQs and your product configurator, BAQs now use a different type of querying than what was available in Epicor 9 and prior. So some of those complex ones, if you wrote your own scripting inside of [phonetic] Requires, those will need to be re-written. Product configurator. Any product configurator. Just assume you have a rewrite on your hands. There’s a lot of work that goes into product configurator. A lot of logic that goes into product configurator. It’s no longer 4GL. It’s C#.
So when we talk about your tech teams, your configurator teams, those people that are internal that are managing those things today. Make sure that they’re getting a jumpstart on understanding C# as a programming language because it’s not as intuitive as 4GL. Granted, it a lot more popular. So the beauty of that is-is this skill set will translate into other things in your organization, where 4GL was pretty well locked in to Epicor and Epicor related ERP. Unless you just happened to have another odd application out there that was progress driven.
So depending on your version, there may be very large process improvements that are also out there. So thinking about what we talked, just briefly, where, you know, your-your units of measure, your finance engine, all of those things. If you’re coming from prior to Epicor 9 that is an overhaul in what happened in those areas. But on top of that, there’s a huge delta of other process improvements from the Vantage days, moving up.
Epicor 9. The-the requirement that the development team had, besides what I mentioned before with BAQs, BPMs and configurator, was to make it a one per one translation. No improved processes. Nothing like that. They just wanted Epicor 9 to translate into the technology stack for Epicor 10. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some minor tweaks or adjustments or screens don’t look a little different. But that was the goal for Epicor 10.
Now in Epicor 10.1, which is coming out, looking here at insights 2015 is what we’re speculating. Um. That’s gonna have some really cool new features that are there that we’ve been waiting for, for a long time. So the idea behind getting to Epicor 10 is future releases of Epicor 10 are going to be able to provide a lot more impactful changes, process improvements and those kinds of things more quickly because the progress layer before made it a little bit more of a slug to being able to do those types of improvements.
So one of those cool features that we’re really excited about here is container tracking on your production floor. So for those folks that are in automotive or those folks that are more into some of the lean initiatives in those kinds of things than how you want to handle whip movement on the floor, might already know what I’m talking about. But they idea here is, you have a container that fits say 10 custom molded panels. And you’re just going to be moving containers around your shop floor.
So rather than having to scan 10 items into the container, you actually scan the container. And it says, “Oh. There must be 10 items in there. And let’s move it on down the line to the next one.” Then next person scans it and says, “I got this container here.” And it says, “Oh. You must have 10 that you’re getting ready to put away in inventory.” Or you’re moving from place to place. So those are some of the things that are going to be coming in Epicor 10-1. And that’s going to be real exciting.
So, again, understanding where you’re at. Are you going to 10? Are you going to 10-1? Taking a look at some of the Delta guides that are available to you out there. If you’ve got an Epic Net login, you can go out there and there’s stuff that’s available to you. Give us a call. Give us an email. We’ll gladly sit down and talk with you about where your organization’s at and what’s some of the different upgrades in process improvements [coughs] could be that could help you.
These things can make or break an upgrade. Um. The big ones, BPMs, BAMs. By the way, BAMs no longer exist in Epicor 10. UD fields, UD tables, bolt on applications reports, dashboard, service connects. Um. You name it. There’s a list. [coughs] Make sure… [inaudible]
Make sure, as an organization, you catalog all of your customizations. Knowing what they are, no matter how big or how small is going to be extremely important from top down. So we have another tool that we’re going to be giving you guys. And, again, this one is just simply to be able to help you get good and organized in and around your upgrade and what you have in front of your with customizations.
So identify that customization. Give it a description. What does it do? Where is it deployed? And what kind is it? Once you have this big master list populated, then break it down. Now you can start to reassign these things and say, “Alright. Jimmy, you’re in charge of dashboards. Timmy, you’re in charge of queries and BAQ reports and any other reports.” And then you might have somebody else that’s in charge of automation and service connects.
So you can start to break down those lists and divided and conquer those things up. So that you can make sure all of these are addressed as you do your upgrade or migration into Epicor 10. So knowing what that is, what it does, you know, what’s tied to it. So from a dashboard perspective, the BAQs that are behind it are extremely important. Cuz we can’t leave any of those behind if it makes into a functioning dashboard. right?
And then where’s it deployed? Who has access? All those kinds of things are extremely important. BPMs. What are the method directives that are driving it? What does it actually do for the organization? Do we still need it? Is it a pre-processing? A base level processing? Or post-processing? In other words, does it happen before the transaction, during the transaction or after the transaction?
So those kinds of things and knowing how invasive BPMs are, are gonna be vital to making sure that you have all the right things in play. Alright. So once you’ve organized your customizations, you’ve done all that different work, you know what your processes are. We’re offering a free one hour session with an Epicor 10 upgrade expert. Most likely, you’ll be talking directly to me.
The idea here is to review how prepared are you for your upgrade? Where are your critical path directions? And what are the big risks that we see that could be your Achilles heel? Understanding what your project team looks like is going to be important. Who’s got the time? Who has the understanding? Who’s the power users that need to be involved in this type of an upgrade to make that you get the most bang for your buck out of this thing?
You know, where are your low hanging fruit and where’s the waste that we can eliminate out of those processes to make you a better organization? And we want to challenge that status quo so that you challenge yourselves and improve in the long run. So with that, the sign up instructions are gonna be coming in the email that’s going to follow this up. So as you guys have signed up to view this recording, um, you’re going to also get an email that’ll say, “Here’s where you need to go to sign up to be able to get that one hour session with us.” It’s real simple. Just need your name, need your email address. Need a way to contact you.
So we’ll get that. Just sign up. It doesn’t have time slots. Just say, “Hey. I’m interested.” And myself or my colleague Jennifer will get in direct contact with you and schedule your session with you. And that we’ll send you a direct invite and it’ll get on our calendars and be ready to go. But the idea here, guys, it’s not to push anything your way. It’s just to make sure you get a good step and a good launch in the right direction.
The more people that have successful upgrades up to an Epicor 10, the better the Epicor ecosystem is for everybody. And the better that is, the better there is a buzz around that in ERP world. And that’s what benefits us an organization. As an Epicor consulting company, we want to do that and help that community out and make sure that everybody gets off on the right foot.