The replacement of an ERP system is a highly topical topic for all companies. The goal is to bring grown systems back to the standard in order to simplify the maintenance and structuring of them, which also results in changes for the organization and the workflows everywhere. In the past, the focus of corporate management was mainly on the introduction of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Due to the rapid digitization and the advent of new intelligent technologies, the replacement or upgrade process of an existing ERP system is becoming increasingly important for decision makers.
From these expiring ERP versions the problem arises that existing ERP systems or versions of more recent ones have to be replaced. As the focus in recent years has been more on the introduction of an ERP system, companies now face a new challenge.
In an academic cooperation with Johannes Kepler University Linz, ReqPOOL surveyed leading companies in industry about the methodology of their replacement or upgrade strategy of their ERP systems.
Based on these findings and the practical experience of ReqPOOL, a scientifically based methodology for replacing ERP systems has been developed.
The developed procedure provides information on the one hand, into which different phases the replacement of ERP systems is to be structured and on the other hand, which success factors are important in the individual phases or in the entire project process. The basic model structure was taken over by the approach model of Leyh. The replacement is divided into 5 phases – the project preparation, the IST analysis & SOLL-Scope document, the software selection, the concept fine-tuning and the realization/introduction. In the following step, success factors were assigned to these phases, which determine what a successful completion of the respective phases depends on. In addition, there are some success factors that are important in all phases of the transfer and thus extend over the entire project.
This is the first phase for replacing an ERP system. Extensive preparation is the first step towards a successful transition to a newer system. Fundamental decisions must be taken.
Successful project preparation depends on the following success factors:
- Composition of the project team
- Defining the Project Champions
- IT Steering Committee (for large companies)
- Sufficient resources
- Clear project objectives
- Communicating the Vision
- Integration of key users
IST Analysis & GOAL Scope Concept
In this phase, an analysis of the actual state of the company is created. Important questions are: What are the business processes, processes in the individual areas? What was the previous software support? From the IST analysis, a ZIEL-Scope concept is then created, which contains the requirements for the future ERP system. Subsequently, the specification can be created.
The success factors of this phase are:
- Definition of the actual state
- Reconcile the specification with all stakeholders
- Survey of performance indicators
The focus here is on the selection of the optimal software package and the software supplier. The selection of the migration strategy is particularly important for the replacement.
Success factors in selection and procurement include:
- Choosing a suitable ERP system
- Selection of the software provider
- Selection of the integrator/specialist consultant
- Defining the migration strategy for processes, data, functions
In this phase, the project plan and the coordination with the selected system provider are finalized and the fine-tuning of the specifications is completed.
- The decisive success factors are:
- Integration of key users
- Reconciliation of the final project plan
- Minimal software customizations or business process adjustments
Implementation & Introduction
This is the phase of system detachment in which the new system is implemented. This shows the biggest difference between the introduction and replacement of an ERP system. This means that not only all data has to be migrated, but also the processes and functions of the old system. This reimplementation is often frauized and poses a high risk.
The implementation/introduction phase was therefore divided into four further phases:
Installation & Basic Setup
During the installation phase, it is checked what prerequisites exist for the system. The following success factors are relevant in this phase:
- Checking hardware requirements
- Examination of software requirements
- Testing the installation and basic setup
Migration of functions
During the implementation or introduction phase of the new ERP system, the functions are migrated. This means that all additional interfaces and functions of the old system will be transferred to the new one. In this phase, the following success factors must be considered:
- Survey of the additional system components of the existing ERP system
- Selection of required additional components
- Quality assurance of functions
Migration of data
The data is then migrated. This results in a significant difference between an update of the existing system and the replacement of a new system.
The following success factors are important for a successful completion of this phase:
- Selection of the transfer method (reinstallation, in-place method, classic migration)
- Cleaning and processing of origin data
- Quality assurance of data and functions
Migration of processes
The final step of the introduction is the migration of processes. This includes all changes to the company structure or processes. The success factors of this phase are:
- Changing the actual organizational processes
- Successful use by the employee
- Quality assurance of the processes incl. Data and functions