Most everyone knows that an ERP implementation requires many rounds of functional and integration testing. This testing is critical to gain an understanding of not just how the ERP software is working on a technical level but also how it is working with regards to the organization’s specific business processes. But what some don’t realize is that testing is not just something that should happen at the end of the project. Instead, organizations should begin testing during the ERP selection process by instituting conference room pilots (CRP) to allow staff members to perform business tasks with the new software. CRPs should continue throughout the design and implementation of the system to give organizations true insight into how end-users will work within the system, and how their business will function once the system is in place.
Key Objectives of CRPs
On a very general level, the results of CRPs can provide a framework for the organization’s operations moving forward. Additional purposes include:
- To define, detail and document desired end-to-end business processes and workflows
- To identify gaps and areas of change between the new system and the old system
- To identify the impact of the changes on the affected departments and individuals
- To identify staff training needs
- To determine overall functionality and identify issues to be resolved prior to go-live
- To better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the ERP software being considered (during selection) or being implemented (post-selection)
- To define and practice problem-solving procedures
- To map the data cleaning, converting and reconciling processes
When approached and analyzed correctly, CRPs can provide much of the information necessary for a successful ERP implementation and switchover. Further, they can engage end-users in a positive and collaborative way and help create realistic expectations for everyone involved. Be sure to harness all of the value CRPs can offer by starting the testing early in the project, involving as many staff members as possible, and allocating as much time as needed. Learn more in our white paper, Ten Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation.