Rapid Deployment in ERP Environment
PMI India

Organizations are today aiming at rapid deployment to reduce time-to-market. Concepts like agile project management methodology, iterative Conference Room Pilots (CRP) and developments, and automated release management are being adopted based on the organization's size, business characteristics, and readiness to adopt.

Complexities around ERP Implementation: ERP has been prevalent for more than two decades. Many players, starting from product vendors to system integration partners, have joined the fray.

Business models and dynamics are changing rapidly, leading to the evolution of redefined technology paradigms. Traditional business models are getting a rejig due to new ways of doing business such as e-commerce and the increased focus on customer experience. Moreover, organizations are under pressure to expand globally, reduce time-to-market, and reduce total cost of ownership. To keep pace with these changes, organizations find multi-year implementation programs less feasible and are looking towards rapid deployment.

ERP product vendors and system integration partners are recommending methodologies like Oracle Unified Method (OUM) and agile project management techniques to support rapid deployment to stay in line with business goals.

Key parameters which impact rapid deployment in ERP:
Dependency on legacy data: Complete data conversion cycles cannot run as frequently as it may lead to business disruption.

Complex IT landscape: End-to-end business process integration has complex interfaces with in-house and trading partner's applications. Testing activities are planned keeping in view trading partner's readiness and release schedule.

End-to-end solution: Deployment success is linked to the end-to-end business process functionality getting delivered and associated integration touch points.

Instance strategy: In tradition Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) waterfall model, instance strategy is focused on reusing instances by staggering test cycles. Testing cycles are also planned based on business user availability.

OCM and training: As ERP implementation leads to business transformation, thorough planning is required for OCM and business user's enablement.

Keeping above considerations in view, the agile or waterfall model can be used in business situations mentioned in a table (Figure 1) in an effective way (with green indicating higher suitability than red).

Traditionally, the SDLC waterfall method has been prevalent in ERP implementation. In recent times, to meet the business requirement of reduced time-to-market and lower total cost of ownership, rapid deployment techniques are being embraced.