Joe Hoover: Everything we’ve been discussing throughout this series goes back to the scope of the ERP. The scope of the ERP is best defined through the strategic vision, which has to take into account business transformation, goals, and objectives in the areas where the organization needs the most improvement. What are the situations? How long does it take us to issue a permit? How does it take us to complete a procurement? How long does it take a business entity to respond to a solicitation? All of these questions are impacted by the efficiency and effectiveness of the ERP system. When you think about it, there are two aspects that are critical: the flow of information and the authority related to that information. The more you can simplify that, the more you can ask those yourself those five levels of “why am I doing this?” It's part of that original lean Sigma approach.
If you get to the fifth level of why you're doing a specific business transformation or specific business process, it will greatly enhance your awareness of what you shouldn't be doing. One of the challenges within the public sector environment is identifying and selecting the right implementation services vendor. It's not an easy task from the municipalities' perspective, but the implementation vendor will usually determine the ultimate success of the software package itself. Not only does it involve a company or organization on the vendor side that understands a product, but they typically understand the product and have experienced the different types of implementations within public sector. There is a challenge that some vendors are not able to work in a fixed-price, deliverable-based environment. One of the most important aspects to consider is does the vendor have a proven track record of implementing your chosen system as close to on time and on budget as possible? Do they have a large portfolio of satisfied customers?
Barbie Hunley: Experience is incredibly important, but I think the partnership equally as relevant to the success of the project. If you start back from the RFP all the way to when you go live, that process averages around three years that you'll be working side by side with these individuals, which can be hard to identify upfront. You need to gauge if they’re going to be transparent with you, and if they’re going to roll up their sleeves and look at payroll with you.
Joe and I have both done that for customers. Those are the kind of partners that you want to ensure you're bringing in to implement this solution: the people who will be there for you, not just for the implementation process, but thereafter as well.