The readiness process and ERP implementation
During ERP implementation, the readiness process is critical because it is used to assess every activities and roles. Consequently, it can be used to identify specific areas that require improvement before the project can Go-Live. Readiness process will ultimately guarantee that the Go-Live will take place without technical challenges, particularly from the old legacy system. In addition, the readiness process during ERP implement is used to ascertain the level of end user preparedness to avoid challenges during launching date.
Project areas need to be assessed in a readiness process
The ERP is a complex platform with multiple critical components. A failure of a single component could derail other components. Hence, all every project area within the entire ERP solution should be evaluated for a process readiness. Critical areas that should be assessed include conversion, training, ERP infrastructures, process development, ERP configuration, end user training, communications, reporting channels, user readiness, command systems, and system operations.
Components included or not included during stabilization timeframe
Once an ERP solution has been implemented and is live, users should move into a stabilization stage, which could require a timeframe of about 60 to 90 days based on the system complexity. It is recommended that organizations should not engage in the system development during the stabilization period. End users and management team should observe how the ERP platform is functioning, record areas of difficulties, collect data conversion, note system stability and any other technical issues arising from the use of the ERP components.
Knowledge transfer and the long-term stability of the ERP
In most instances, ERP system may fail due to lack of sufficient knowledge among end users resulting from poor knowledge transfer. Knowledge transfer is imperative because it assists in reducing many issues noted after ERP implementation to usage. For instance, changes are witnessed during the Go-Live phase and Stabilization timeframe. These changes require smooth processes of knowledge transfer to ensure that all technical issues are managed at the right place with the right users. Thus, knowledge transfer ensures system stability during transition and stabilization periods. Organizations should focus on knowledge management to evaluate effective transfer between system users to avoid knowledge gap if any user leaves (Motiwalla & Thompson, 2012).
Five areas of interest in post-production support
Organizations should focus on user training before the Go-live phase and ensure sustained training thereafter. The support system should also be robust to mitigate user challenges. Data validation is required to ensure that end users have acquired skills to use the ERP. Data correction ensures that data are correct and support introduction of more features. Finally, patched and fixes are used to correct software bugs. These processes require documentation to ensure sufficient support.
ERP System training for a user group
Training agenda for the user group before the system Go- live
User training ensures that ERP system end users obtain critical skills necessary to the core functions before the system goes live. The major agenda for training include the following.
Technical training agenda focuses on on-site ERP system training to ensure that targeted user groups acquire technical and basic knowledge.
Data capturing training is provided for users who capture data manually to ensure that they have data entry skills.
Users also require basic training. Basic training is meant for all users, including super users to ensure that they learn about basic ERP system functionality of every component module based on the implementation needs. In addition, basic training will ensure that end users attain knowledge on functions related to their specific tasks and jobs.
Finally, advanced training is also recommended for super users before the Go-live to ensure that they acquire skills on the system set up. The training should be tailored to meet every component module based on the implementation requires.
Training agenda for the user group after Go-Live
Users must remember that the training process is a journey and, therefore, it is an ongoing effort. Super users should be trained on onsite support. Super users must be trained on specific areas that require answers from issues and questions raised. In addition, change management is necessary as a training component to ensure that end users support the system.
In most instances, end users may lack understanding on how the ERP system works and, therefore, super users should be ready to provide support immediately.
Training should also focus on refreshing knowledge learned before the Go-live training. In addition, new employees should also receive the same training delivered to other employees for consistency. Consequently, an organization would ensure consistent knowledge transfer and processes across all functional areas and departments.
Training should also focus on managers and supervisors. New terminologies, definitions, change management, system benefits, major areas of change, and available support should be emphasized. This would ensure that the executives support the system, after Go-live, deliver the right message and have a clear communication path for issue escalation (Deloitte, 2015).
For training agendas, the overriding theme is that training is an imperative element of the ERP implementation process before and after Go-live. A lack of user training would lead to poor utilization of the system full capabilities and failure.
Knowledge transfer reflects practices of transferring knowledge within an organization. In this regard, members of an organization seek to create, organize, capture, share and retain knowledge for future use. In simple terms, knowledge transfer depicts the passage of knowledge between people, organization or transfer of ownership (Paulin & Suneson, 2012). Knowledge transfer therefore goes beyond a mere communication between parties. Hence, simple communications do not necessarily reflect knowledge transfer. In organizations, knowledge can be found in people, tools, roles, activities and their related components. Organizational knowledge tends to be tacit or difficult to understand.
Proper transfer of knowledge in an organization
It has been shown that effective knowledge transfer in an organization follow some specific steps (Project Management Institute, Inc, 2015). In fact, the above definition of knowledge transfer could indicate some of these steps. First, knowledge transfer requires knowledge identification. Organizations should identify the type of knowledge to be transferred. Second, once knowledge has been determined, organizations must capture it.
In this regard, vital knowledge is accumulated for conveyance. Third, knowledge transfer also involves sharing. Organizational knowledge can only be useful when it shared through reliable methods. Fourth, once knowledge is shared, it should be applied to demonstrate its value. Finally, knowledge transfer requires assessment. Organizations should always assess the benefits of the transferred knowledge to users.
Organizations tend to develop consistent, comprehensible processes and systems to transfer knowledge. In most instances, they have developed documents to show knowledge transfer cycles and how the processes function. These processes are supported with checklists and templates to ensure that the necessary knowledge is transferred. Consequently, users can follow these simple processes without difficulties.
In addition, technologies and other systems have become critical elements of knowledge transfer. Today, organizations use technologies to capture critical data for future use. Hence, they eliminate difficult processes of relearning previously captured knowledge.
Knowledge transfer and system sustainability
Knowledge transfer is vital for system sustainability because it ensures that users can get the required, right information to the right users at the right time. Consequently, it can result in long-term success of a system and an organization.
For system sustainability, knowledge transfer becomes a critical resource for the system functionality. Knowledge transfer assists organizations during transition and when key employees leave and, it therefore ensures system sustainability.
Functions associated and models integration
Several models of Microsoft Dynamics NAV are available in the market. NAV 4.0 was associated with the Microsoft Outlook, advanced graphical major performance features and reporting features that enhanced business management and planning. It simplified information exchange and transactions across organizations.
NAV 5.0 introduced new features to improve productivity such as Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration and connection across the organization and with partners. It also introduced new business intelligence features.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 was associated with the RoleTailored to improve user experience, information accessibility, agility, integration, reporting and maximizing usability.
NAV 2013 is known for its comprehensive, reliable business management features, robust reporting system and business intelligence. Moreover, it provides flexibility in access, virtually on any devices that support Web browsing.
NAV 2015 introduced electronic payment platforms for businesses to enhance collection of cash. It also has automated account reconciliation, tablet and touch-enhanced user capabilities. It enhances data access anywhere with any device and simplifies invoice due to interoperability with Microsoft Word (Microsoft Corporation, 2015).
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 is currently under trial, and it is expected to bring additional features, including “in workflow and document management including OCR, in Microsoft Office integration, cloud services and financial management” (Cosmo Consult, 2015).
Integration is fast achieved because of native interoperability of all Microsoft models with each other, including the use of simple Office documents.
In 2009, Golden Farms, Geelong, Victoria deployed Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 for its business processes (Fenwick Software Pty Ltd, n.d). The company provided specific benefits related to this ERP solution. Beneficial features included ease of deployment. The company claims that the system was ready on time and cost-effective too. The system offered trouble-free maintenance because of relatively minimal level of technical support required. Further, user support is readily available through accessible support data. Finally, future conversion would not present challenges to the company because of amenability to integrate new features. Golden Farms considered these advantages as technical and operational advantages during the deployment.
Transition processes before and after the Go-live
While the company did not discuss details of transition, some elements were captured. For instance, they wanted to replace Oracle because of costs. They found Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 to be appropriate. The company refers to “benefit of a well-defined methodology” that facilitated the implementation processes. The CEO was engaged in the processes while the IT staff acknowledged low level of technical maintenance required. Users also noted that most features were available or could be quickly customized while issues were resolved quickly and updates were regular and quick.
Cosmo Consult. (2015). Cosmo Consult Successfully Implements Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 Pre-Release at RKB. Web.
Deloitte. (2015). Your guide to a successful ERP journey. Web.
Fenwick Software Pty Ltd. (n.d). Case Study: La Ionica. Web.
Microsoft Corporation. (2015). Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015: Feature Comparison Tool. Web.
Motiwalla, L., & Thompson, J. (2012). Enterprise Systems for Management (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Paulin, D., & Suneson, K. (2012). Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Barriers – Three Blurry Terms in KM. The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 10(1), 81-91.
Project Management Institute, Inc. (2015). Capturing the Value of Project Management Through Knowledge Transfer. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.