At the first glance, all implementation methodologies look very much alike. For example, many terms and names are common to all of them. But once you start talking with the consultants about their implementation methodologies, the differences start appearing.  Every consulting firm will try to impress upon the fact that their implementation methodology is the most foolproof and the one which will guarantee success. Their presentations will convince you that their way is the most appropriate way to develop a business solution. So the contracting company must pay special attention when comparing the different methodologies. One important point to note is that selecting the consultants is as important as selecting the package.

Since almost all the methodologies look the same, the company should look into minute details when comparing the different methodologies. In fact, ‘little things’ say whether the methodology is practical and successful. The little things, like the content of a particular slide, the write-up in a brochure, the conduct of the consultants during the presentation and most importantly, the practical experience of the consultants in dealing with similar situations before, should be considered before making the seletion.

If the consulting firm has partial experience, the methodology for the implementation will have been adapted to include tasks or activities specifically tailored to the specific application being analysed. This may be apparent in one or more of the following aspects of the project-training, master files definition, business modeling, initial load plan and test plan, data migration strategies, definition of procedures, procedures for customization, development of interfaces, tuning of the processing environment, definition of accesses and permissions and so on. The above list is by no means comprehensive but contains the aspects that are most subject to comparison. If the differences between consultants are not evident during their presentations, then you should ask them questions. In fact, you should prepare a detailed questionnaire and grill the consultants during their presentations. Also, the contracting company can ask for testimonials of successful implementations and check the consulting firm’s reputation before signing on.

In this chapter we will see a generic methodology that can be used as a b during their basis of judging the various service proposals presented by the consultants. Generally, an ERP implementation can be divided into four phases:

  1. Understanding the problem
  2. Defining solutions
  3. Getting down to work
  4. Going live

Each phase produces an intermediate result that can be evaluated, adjusted and then approved, so that the project team can continue with the certainty that the work is evolving satisfactorily towards the project’s defined objectives. The four phases are described in the following sections.