Have you ever heard of the expression “It’s not rocket science?" Well, people who are well versed in the ETRM world would likely say “It’s not an ETRM software implementation”. That saying probably won’t be trending anytime soon but an ETRM software implementation is truly complex and success can be hard to achieve. A strong project manager, careful planning and constant communication are only some of the requirements.
There are several things that you can do to make sure you have the proper foundation for your ETRM software implementation project. Here are the top 5 things to consider:
1. Be Clear on What Problem You are Trying to Solve
Defining the scope is a critical first step. Is your scope about risk modeling? Is it accounting and/or scheduling? Defining a clear scope from the start helps you manage the project and prioritize work. Aside from what is in scope, it is also very important for your organization to know what is NOT in scope and how these things will be handled and managed after go-live.
Scope should also include the definition of success. What metrics do you need to hit? What reports need to run? Defining the scope up front will go a long way towards helping to manage expectations and the project.
2. Create a Credible Roadmap
After defining the scope, you will have to create the roadmap for the implementation work. An ETRM system will likely have several dependencies that you will have to identify. Start with the things that you have to do before you can even begin the project. Do you need to have people with specific subject matter expertise to help create the business requirements? If so, make sure that these resources will have time allotted to meet to explain requirements. Another example is new technical environments may need to be created for the new software.
As you think about the sequence of delivery for your project, think about the most logical way to deliver the product. For example, attempting to reconcile accounting while the results from the front and mid office have not been signed off may be prove to be impossible. It may be better approach to phase the project and deliver front and mid office first and then begin the process of reconciling the accounting results. The roadmap that is created should take into account these dependencies to avoid making an already difficult task more difficult.
3. Prepare the Organization for Change
Communication is one of the keys to a successful implementation. The scope, timeline and expectations are some of the things that need to be communicated. Proactively managing expectations for what your users will experience will go a long way towards keeping frustration to a minimum. Even if everyone is on board with the new system but it may not occur to them that the numbers coming from the new system can be significantly different (e.g. inventory, storage) from the ones coming out of the old system. It will be good for everyone to know that there will be a reconciliation phase (see #5 below) to get everyone comfortable with the results.
As mentioned earlier, aside from scope, it is also important to communicate what is not in scope and how these processes will be handled after the system is implemented. Nothing can bring an entire project to a halt faster than realizing a key downstream business process or system that is out of scope will no longer work because it has not been redesigned.
4. Think Data, Processes and Reports
Garbage in, garbage out. This is why inspecting and cleaning up data before migrating them into the new system is important. When this step has been done, understanding results and troubleshooting will be easier.
Once the data has been migrated to the new system, processes to maintain and manage the data quality are needed. These processes make sure that the reports and results are accurate. As you think about new reports make sure that you have all the data needed to produce the required reports. That fancy new PNL report will not be very useful if prices are not loaded daily or if there is no one run it.
5. Build Trust in the Numbers through Reconciliation
Once you are ready to produce the results from the new system, make sure that you reconcile these with results from the old system. The goal is not to make the numbers match after all new models produce different numbers. The business needs to understand why they are different and which system is “right”.
Repetition of the reconciliation is key to understanding patterns and the sources of the differences. Running reconciliation multiple times also makes people more comfortable and builds trust. This is why the users must be deeply involved in this phase. Having the consultants help is great, but they are not the ones who are going to sign-off on go-live.
Remember to run reconciliation over several different business events. Include things in the business that happen monthly, quarterly, etc. and make sure that data results that can be understood and explained.
If you are just in the process of selecting an ETRM system, we have a white paper you can reference. It has insight into common mistakes made when selecting a system. Implementing an ETRM system doesn’t have be painful. There are certainly things that can be done before, during and after implementation to avoid common pitfalls. Call us at Veritas. We have people with deep ETRM expertise that you can count on.