Professional Services Methodology
Mantralogix’s impressive track record of successfully implementing business performance solutions is based on knowing how to integrate our software selection with the latest technology and applying proven, real-world methodologies to each new client’s unique needs.
Mantralogix’s unique, simulation-based deployment methodology is another key reason why our implementation costs are so low.
The following chart illustrates the primary tasks that comprise our methodology and a brief description of the primary activities, objectives and deliverables follows. These tasks are the steps that Mantralogix has used to ensure a timely and cost effective implementation.
Project Management describes the activities involved in organizing and managing the overall project, and especially the stage of the implementation that the project is currently in. On-going, proactive project management is essential to the successful completion of the project on time and within budget.
Overall finances, resources, tasks, schedules, and risks are managed. Project Status reports are prepared and communicated on a periodic basis. Changes to the schedule and scope are managed through Change Control Requests.
Similar to Project Management, Quality Assurance and Control is a continuous process. Quality Assurance safeguards against potential issues that could impede the overall progress of the implementation, and, potentially, the customer’s ability to use the software for its intended purpose.
Strategy and Planning
The Project Planning Stage is the starting point for an ERP implementation project. This stage is concerned with organizing and structuring a ‘road-map’ for implementation and developing a step-by-step approach to guide the team through the successful installation of the software.
Project Planning starts with the Project Definition, which includes the Project Planning Workshop. The workshop will establish a shared vision by customer management, project management and project team members as to the project’s objectives, scope, organization and the responsibilities of all participants. In addition, project-wide policies for communication, documentation and common standards are developed.
The Project Definition step is critical to the successful implementation of an ERP solution. Project Definition is a learning process, where the customer discovers the issues and complexities that should be considered when implementing the solution, and Mantralogix Consultants ascertain the business problems and opportunities that need to be addressed during implementation. Key decisions are made, and expectations are set during this stage that will guide the project team throughout the implementation. The result should be a ‘road map’ through the initial start up of the project to production use of the software.
The remaining steps and tasks in this stage are aimed towards preparing the application environments and educating the project team. The project is then officially started with a ‘kick-off’ meeting, which is attended by the project team and steering/advisory committee.
- Set realistic expectations with all participants (shared vision)
- Clearly define the project as to the relative time frame, phasing, objectives, scope, resources and team organization
- Determine roles and responsibilities
- Develop approaches to manage project scope and issue-resolution
- Develop preliminary approaches/guidelines/strategies for customization, data conversion, project team and user training, and cut-over to the production system
- Begin building a strong customer relationship
- Project Definition document
- Finalize work plan, resource plan, project plan
- Establish project standards and project control procedures
- Architecture review and documentation
Analysis and Design
The Analysis and Design stage is a process of mapping business and end-user requirements to the features of the ERP solution. The objective of this stage is to develop and test a ‘Business Blueprint’ using the software in an unmodified form. The blueprint represents how the customer desires their organization to operate with the new applications.
The foundation of the Analysis and Design stage is to configure a prototype system followed by the Conference Room Pilot. The concept of the Conference Room Pilot is to use standard solution software and actual client transactions to model the normal business functions of the customer. The Conference Room Pilot is series of steps and tasks that consists of designing a ‘model’ company and emulating the day-to-day transactions of the customer in a controlled environment. Real business transactions and scenarios are used to validate the design of the system. By emulating business transactions and processes through the ‘model’ company, the functional fit of the standard software is clearly seen as well as any likely modifications.
- Basic system installation
- Project Team Training
- Configure Prototype System
- Perform Conference Room Pilot
- Installed system architecture
- Knowledgeable Project Team
- Configured Prototype to client requirements
- Conference Room Pilot Assessment
The Implementation stage is where the results of the design process come together with the actual building of a production-ready system. A production-ready system will include a completely configured installation, customer specific financial reports, end-user procedures, backup and recovery procedures, end-user support procedures, converted data, customized interfaces, reports, and forms or processes. As important as the fully defined system, final end-user training will also be conducted at this time. With all the components together the ‘production’ ready system can be thoroughly validated, by a complete system acceptance test performed by the end-users. By conducting the system acceptance test, the project team can ensure that the entire system operates as designed and within user expectations, as well as re-enforcing the end-user training.
At the conclusion of the system test, changes are made based on the conversion and readiness assessment documentation, and then final preparations and plans can be arranged for the live cut-over to the ERP solution.
- Migrate Development System to Production Environment
- Train the users on proper system operations and maintenance
- Knowledgeable users
- User Procedures and administrative documentation
- Validation and approval (sign-off) of the Readiness Review
- Functional Production System
The Execution stage is initially focused at supporting the end-users through the day-to-day use of the solution software and fine-tuning the performance of the software. After a ‘break-in’ period, additional requirements that were either deferred for later or reported through supporting the users can be prioritized and planned for implementation.
The final task is to conduct a Post Implementation Review. This serves as the final debriefing for the project team, and allows the team to assess overall usage and quality of the implementation as well as plan for additional improvements.
- Provide assistance and guidance for production system operation
- Plan future system requirements
- Project Completion Review and Approval
- Scheduling for work on future system requirements
The key to Quality Assurance is ensuring that user expectations are met, or exceeded, and that the end result adds value to support the business objectives of the project.
Mantralogix’s Implementation Methodology includes Quality in two forms:
- ‘In-Process’ Quality
- Periodic Quality Assurance Checks and System Audits
Templates and sample deliverables provided with the methodology incorporate quality into their design. Templates have been constructed to account for the general requirements for a given task and the subsequent task(s) it may drive (output à input). By doing so, they support reusability, from task to task, and consistent manners to complete work and communicate requirements.
Periodic Quality Assurance Checks and Systems Audits
Managing quality is a course of monitoring and periodically assessing the value of a process or end-product of the implementation, and making adjustments where necessary. Quality Assurance Checks are scheduled throughout the implementation to ensure that key milestones are completed, and completed within user expectation.
Systems Audits are scheduled post-implementation. The purpose of Systems Audits is to verify that the customer is maximizing the use of the software. As companies grow or their business changes, the software may require additional tuning or additional features may be employed to support a change in their business. The Systems Audit is designed to capture these changes and make recommendations which will maximize the value of the software.
This section provides examples of Quality Assurance Checks that occur during the implementation, and example checks for Post Conversion called a Periodic Systems Audit.