EPISODE 2: Upgrading Your ERP
It is a time of great darkness. The ever daunting ERP upgrade is upon us. Though overcoming data integrity has become part of the past, there still remains much to be feared. Just as Chewbacca is not the only Wookiee on Kashyyyk, data integrity is not the only milestone of an upgrade. There is more to be prepared for.
When Luke set out to take on the empire, he didn’t just grab his light saber, hop in the X-wing, and head into the Death Star. He mindfully mastered the force with master Yoda and then planned his approach. Okay, maybe he didn’t fully finish his training, but he made sure to plan for his success. And so should you. Jumping feet first into an ERP upgrade without knowing all of what is needed is sure to end up worse than Jar Jar’s P.R. agent’s career.
With a system-wide ERP upgrade, no detail can afford to be overlooked. We’ll break this down further with tips to help you reach the end of the upgrade without any fails.
Communicate with All Stakeholders
Remember Operation Skyhook? When the Rebels found the Death Star had a 2-meter exhaust port and led a fleet of red, gold and blue squadron on the trench run? Channel such leadership and get with your team. The goal of an upgrade is to fully transition data without disrupting the business. All of your people and processes should be taken into account before the upgrade.
The first step is to evaluate the needs of your end-users. While you may think you know most of their needs inside and out, it can’t hurt to plan time to sit down with them in person weeks in advance. Talk through necessary needs, such as real-time reporting, summary and transactional detail, and drilldown. This may not only help you uncover gems of information you hadn’t thought of prior, but it may also help build rapport and trust in the reliability of the team performing the upgrade - and in the upgrade itself.
Some questions to ask are:
- What data will you need to see? And how often?
- How can the ERP support and empower your team to create and maintain your reports securely?
- What is the breakdown between standard reports for statutory reporting vs. instant access to information for time-sensitive reconciliation issues at month-end close?
- What other questions or concerns do you have around an upgrade and potential downtime in access to reporting?
Find a Reporting Solution Before You Upgrade
Much like how Lando changed after seeing the true nature of the Imperial forces. Oracle has been known to add new functionality to new releases, while removing key features companies current rely heavily on. Such occurrence is more common than not. That being said, the next and most important part of the pre-planning process is to incorporate a reporting solution before beginning your upgrade.
No one on Hoth is confident walking into battle without knowing if a storm is coming. Knowing that an ERP’s reporting functionality is likely to change when you upgrade will keep you on the right track. Review and implement the right reporting solution prior to your upgrade and you will be able to ensure your data is delivered and accessed by whoever needs it, whenever it’s needed.
When looking at the ERP reporting solution landscape, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and chose the most convenient option. But, convenience does not always lead to the best outcomes. As you know, big vendors, like Oracle, have their own reporting solutions that they want to sell you in conjunction with what you have already expensed on an ERP. Well, don’t squeal for success just yet, young padawan.
Native reporting tools have a reputation of being difficult, costly, and time consuming to implement. On top of that, they don’t provide the real-time transactional views your business users need to drive performance.
A good precautionary tip is to ask reporting vendors to demo their tools over your live data before you chose your ERP reporting tool. This is the only way to see how easy it will be for your end users to pull their own reports. If a vendor cannot do this, it’s likely a sign that implementing this vendor’s product will be a difficult, timely, technical process.
If the vendor agrees to take on the live trial, then you are one step closer to defeating the Empire. Just don’t forget to huddle the team together to make sure everyone is getting what they need from the solution and be sure to request an in-depth walk-through of what the tool can do.
Generate Data Integrity Reports
Reconciling data between your pre-upgrade ERP system, and your post-upgrade ERP system is kind of like becoming a Jedi Master. One of the most common ERP upgrade issues IT professional face is finding a fast, easy way to run comparison reports between old and new data. Doing this manually is possible, but we strongly advise against it. More often than not, manual reconciliation ends up with errors and a complete loss of confidence in the upgrade itself. A reporting tool that can directly access both versions of the ERP and run real-time comparison reports between the two is really what should be used to get this job done.
We’ve outlined the basics for you so far but if you really want the not so skimmed version of it, you can read our fully guided E-book – How to Have a Happy Upgrade.
May the force be with you…Always
Read our eBook on How to Have a Happy ERP Upgrade.