Five Steps to​ Simplify Your Move to ERP Cloud Applications

Now is the time when there is momentum and demand for the benefits of Digital Transformation by moving on-premise ERP operations to newer Cloud platforms. However, this is not a simple technical decision that can be made exclusively by a company’s IT department.  The functional impact of such migration mandates that the business will likely drive or be significantly involved in making this decision. Correspondingly, the business will also need to contribute to the planning and implementation such a move.​

​How to Get Started

It is imperative to carefully map out the current processes that power the business.  This will become your starting point toward migrating, adapting, and, potentially, replacing those processes with new ones available in the target cloud ERP solution.  This evaluation phase is also an opportunity to determine the cloud solution providers best practices that your business can adopt. Adopting out-of-the-box best practices offers the benefits of easier maintenance, fewer customizations, and a more straightforward deployment initiative when appropriate. It is very common to find that your organization has unique business requirements that cannot be abandoned for the sake of simplification. Your strategy must accommodate this likelihood, even if your target platform does not take well to significant customizations.  In such a case, this can be accomplished by going hybrid. Some companies run specific applications and processes in their legacy platforms while migrating the lower-hanging fruit to the Cloud. Ultimately, process gaps can be supported within custom or third-party Cloud applications to rationalize these older systems further.​

Regardless of the approach, testing is the key to making this transition a success.  Effective testing will be your vehicle for validating that your planned innovations and process reengineering will work for your business.  Functional business stakeholders must be deeply involved in the testing process, ensuring that the test cases match the process requirements in the new environment and signing off on the final product by running acceptance testing.​

Next, ensure you can train the rest of the business user community on how to do their jobs in the new environment. This will require accurate and clear documentation that can be leveraged for that training., as well as a hyper care phase that can ease the pain of transition.

And finally, once you go live in your new ERP application suite, you will face an ongoing maintenance and change stream. A comprehensive testing strategy backed by a high-quality test library must be in place to ensure that these updates and changes cause minimal disruption to the business and are rolled out efficiently and without go-live errors.

Five Steps to​ Simplify Your Move

Map out your current business processes

Emphasize your existing customizations and spend a bit of effort identifying and scoping out unused customizations so that you are not moving ‘unused baggage’ to your new environment.

Simplify business process changes wherever possible

Identify standard processes in the new cloud applications that you can use. Keeping an open mind to processes that may require slight changes to how you do business today can go a long way to helping reduce the need for customization and keep your new application simpler to use and maintain. Make sure to create test documentation of the new processes to be used as a basis for testing, training, and support.

Choose a testing solution that covers your entire target application stack

Ensuring you have a solution to support the move to your new normal is crucial.  This solution should be able to support you post go-live for day-to-day operations.  The key to this is a good testing strategy that provides an appropriate set of tools.  ​Ideal solutions should be application agnostic, as you will likely support the validation of complex processes across several applications and user interfaces. 
Heterogeneous environments may arise due to the hybrid cloud approach discussed above, the implementation of multiple best-of-breed applications that must work together, or the results of M&A activities over the years. The solution must provide the ability to be objective, highlighting what is happening, not what people say is going to happen.  It must be flexible to support whatever application stack is ultimately in place at go-live. Ideally, it will collaborate to support business processes across functional areas and potentially across multiple applications, geographies, and stakeholders. 

Document Everything!

The journey of choosing, developing, and validating new business processes will require detailed process documentation to aid in design, development, testing, training, support, and auditing activities.  Regulatory requirements may also require more strict review, approval, and eSignature processes. Ideally, a single tool and interface that can document processes across these stages will significantly accelerate the end-to-end reengineering process. After all, mistakes will happen, additional iterations will be needed, and a common platform will reduce time and complexity.

​Build a master test repository

Now that you have gone through the work of building, testing, and documenting your to-be business processes, you should leverage this effort to build a master test repository that you can use moving forward for UAT and even Regression.  This will start you off on the right foot and allow you to use this library to maintain a high level of quality through all future changes.  Some things to keep in mind for this repository:  It should be centralized to be used across all change projects and applicable in cross-functional situations.  It should be reusable to keep leveraging your current high-quality test assets.  It should be updatable so that as changes occur, those changes will be reflected in active test assets, avoiding the trap of an outdated test repository. Lastly, it should be ubiquitous so that all relevant stakeholders can access and provide input into their content.​

Key Takeaways

Any ERP transformation needs to start by understanding your current state, understanding current processes, and using that information as a basis to plan where you want to go.​  Once an ERP migration starts, you must manage the transition effectively by using a testing solution that supports your complete application stack, including:

  • Support of the full documentation of business processes
  • Accelerating the testing, validation, and remediation of processes
  • Ensuring a high-quality master test repository.​ 

Once running live on the Cloud, it is critical to manage subsequent application and process updates by continuing to support high-quality testing and change validation. Panaya’s solutions for ERP projects make it easy for business and IT professionals to collaborate and control their testing in real-time, wherever they are with real-time visibility into each step of the project.

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