Open Source ERP Project Rescue: Part 2
Earlier this week in Part 1 of this blog series, Trek Global CEO Joel Stangeland addressed preventative steps companies can take to ensure their open source ERP implementation is a success. Today, Joel addresses how Trek Global helps turn around ERP implementations that have gone awry.
Trek’s Open Source ERP Rescue Response
TG: So, a company has done their best to implement open source ERP either on their own or with an inexperienced guide, and unfortunately it has not gone well. What actions will Trek Global take to help the company resolve their ERP challenges?
Joel: It’s always an assessment situation to determine where the project went wrong. Was it the setup in accounting or in workflows? Was it because they didn’t provide enough training, and so people made up their own steps? This is where our experience comes in to play, as we’ve learned how to do efficient and effective analysis. Once we’ve identified the areas that are missing, we target them as aggressively as possible to get them fixed.
TG: While your assessment is going on, I’m assuming employees are still using the ERP system. Is that correct?
Joel: Yes, they are using the system every day. We are usually able to fix a few problems right away. For example, often the system is crashing once or more a day and is totally unavailable each time. That problem is almost always fixed in the first week.
TG: Now that the assessment is complete and the system is consistently running without crashing, what are the next steps for Trek Global?
Joel: Typically there are fundamental settings that are wrong and that prevent core activities from taking place. For example, we may hear the company’s employees saying, “I can’t ship product,” or “My inventory is wrong,” or “I can’t invoice.” Key processes are interrupted because they were set up incompletely or incorrectly. Normally we can correct those problems within the first three weeks.
TG: If inventory is wrong and invoicing and shipping are not occurring correctly, what does that mean for the company’s data?
Joel: Data cleanup becomes our next step in the process. All the inventory and accounting inaccuracies have to be dealt with. The timeline for data cleanup depends on how long they tried to work with an incorrect setup. Months of incorrect data means there is a lot to clean up. The employees who are most familiar with the data will need to be involved in resolving those issues. It’s hard to put a timeline on that.
TG: It’s scary to think about incorrect data being in a company’s system.
Joel: Yes. For some companies, it may take until year-end close-out before all data issues are resolved, as we could be talking about hundreds of thousands of affected transactions.
TG: From what I gather, it sounds like the timeline to fix a challenged implementation can last months to a year. Is that true?
Joel: Depending on how deep the problems run, you are exactly right.
TG: Once the data is correct and system processes have been fixed, is there another step that involves Trek Global?
Joel: This is where we reach the point that employees say, “OK, now I can do my core job. It would be really nice if I could also do these things…” We start talking about how to enhance, extend and customize the ERP in order to achieve greater efficiency and provide better value to their customers.
TG: I imagine this is the point at which employees who had begun to hate the new ERP begin to see all the exciting possibilities it actually offers.
Joel: Yes, and this is the point at which we’ve forged lasting relationships with our clients. Many long-time clients remain partners with us due to our ability to help with ongoing enhancements. Enhancements and integrations also mean companies can further streamline and automate, allowing for more growth opportunity. It’s also when we see our clients further develop a competitive edge. It’s exciting for us to know we helped our clients achieve their goals.
TG: Well, Joel, you have convinced me that choosing an experienced guide is probably the most important aspect of implementing an open source ERP.
Joel: Many risks and headaches can be avoided when you have the right guide showing you the way.
Learn more about Trek Global’s ERP Implementation Services.