Where Out of the Box Meets Outside the Box
When many people think about ERP software products, they think about the likes of SAP (Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing) and Oracle. In addition to the bigger players, there are niche ERP software solutions geared towards specific industries. An ERP software program geared towards the retail industry could (and probably should) differ greatly from one that is geared towards the pharmaceutical industry. For one of Kenway’s clients, a marine construction company, this is important because there is no ERP software geared towards the marine construction industry. So, our client did what was logically determined to be the next best thing and chose an ERP software solution geared towards the construction industry.
Because the base ERP software was targeted more towards the construction industry instead of the marine construction industry, there were several business needs the software did not address. Kenway has been providing help for the last two years to address those gaps.
These business needs have ranged from something as small as a nomenclature change on a report, so that it makes more sense to the reader to more extensive changes, such as building entire modules within the software that previously didn’t exist, or creating the necessary interfaces to them. No matter the change, the process that Kenway has followed has remained consistent:
- Identify the business need or inefficiencies in the current business process
- Gather and document business requirements
- Understand and clearly communicate solution options, e.g. ERP customizations, interfaces to legacy systems, etc.
- Help with recommending the most appropriate solution based on the relative priority of the requirement
- Manage the process to obtain that solution
One example of how Kenway executed this process for our client was to recommend the creation of an interface between our client’s ERP software and a piece of software designed solely for safety. We helped identify this need with the business through conversations about what was important to the safety department to conduct their jobs effectively and efficiently. We gathered requirements and determined the data elements critical to their business process and mapped those data needs to data elements available in the ERP software.
Next, we facilitated sessions with the IT team to communicate the business requirements and data needs to move business and IT through discussions about possible solution options. In this scenario, the options were to either build a new module in the ERP for the safety department, so they would no longer need to use a separate tool or to build an interface between the ERP and the safety software allowing the key data elements to flow between the systems in an automated fashion requiring no manual work. We recommended the latter, and that’s the solution that was ultimately implemented. This was preferred because the ERP software did not address the specific needs of the safety department, and their current software provided them with everything they needed except for the key data elements that were in the ERP.
We then managed the process to build the interface through iterations, regularly communicating with the safety and IT departments and identifying issues as early as possible. After development iterations, testing and sign-offs, the finished solution was deployed to production successfully. By following this process for each new feature, Kenway has been able to provide the maximum amount of value while also gaining efficiencies throughout the process. If you would like to know more about our business analysis service, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.