Complexities of an ERP Project in the Public Sector

RPI's Public Sector Offerings

Joe Hoover: One of the challenges in public sector is eliminating the complexity represented by an ERP implementation project. This can be accomplished by reducing the number of options an organization believes they need to accomplish or go through. As we move from on-premises to multi-tenant cloud, the solutions are more configurable and less customizable. More importantly, this means an organization has to re-evaluate their business processes because what worked previously may not make sense today. You need to look at it from the perspective of simplifying the process and the number of requirements, which brings us to a whole different issue relating to ERP projects - the simplification of core business requirements. We are still seeing a bottom-up approach in a lot of RFPs, meaning we see detailed functional requirements, detailed technical requirements, but there's that missing layer of detail about the business process requirements.

Some of the more progressive RFPs we've seen have identified their future processes as part of the business transformation initiative, so they're ahead of the game. They see it as a business process and look at the requirements of a system to understand the high-level business processes it can accomplish versus the detailed, functional activities related to specific transactions within that software.

Barbie Hunley: Another reason to keep things simple is that you have to maintain your timeline while being on a tight budget. Public sector entities are unique in that they have constituents holding them accountable, in addition to their bosses and likely a board or a municipality. The best way to hit those timelines is to do as we discussed earlier and break it into multiple phases. This strategy goes back to that three to five year planning, but you need to keep it simple and focused on the agreed-upon scope so that you're able to accomplish those high priority items. While I understand that organizations may want it all right now, really making sure you're focusing on the most simplistic and business critical items first helps your project succeed. After you do this, you can start documenting those other items that perhaps you can encompass into other phases. The most important things on people's minds as you undertake a project like this is: how are you handling my tax dollars and are you doing it on time?

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