ERP Business Systems Laboratory – War Games – 5th Factor for Success

> Blog > ERP Business Systems Laboratory – War Games – 5th Factor for Success
ERP implementation success

I would like to discuss the fifth factor required for ERP implementation success – “ERP Business
Systems Laboratory – War Games”
with a weight of 12%
What do I mean by “Business Systems Laboratory”?

Case Study

The client was a medium size distributor of high end fragrances.
The project was the re-implementation of a widely used ERP product.
The Managing Director and major shareholder had worked closely with me throughout the project
to re-implement the ERP, as had the Managing Director of the Implementation Consultants.
When all aspects of the ERP had been comprehensively and systematically configured with full
approval by the MD and senior staff we set up a number of computers in the training room and
engaged in the Business Systems Laboratory.

What do I mean by “Business Systems Laboratory”?

A laboratory in Engineering terms is a facility in which the dynamics of the proposed solution are
modelled and tested, often to destruction, in order to ensure that all aspects of the solution work as
designed.
The Business Systems Laboratory is a facility in which the dynamics of the proposed ERP
configuration
are comprehensively modelled and tested in order to ensure that all aspects of the
solution work as designed. This is frequently referred to as “User Acceptance Testing” but the
approach advocated is much more rigorous and harder on the software and the Implementer.
This involves having a team of people, representing all dimensions of the business in a room
together, each with a computer and representing a specific element of the business, such as
Customer Service / Order Taking, Credit Control, Order Processing, Warehouse, Delivery, Invoicing,
Financial Administration, General Ledger and Management Reporting. The flow of a transaction
through the system is then modelled with each person doing the necessary work on their computer
to simulate the real world activities.

When everything is fully proven in the Laboratory this is then used to:

  1. document workflows (processes);
  2. document standard operating procedures and other standards and controls;
  3. make sure all the required reports are present and balance;
  4. train ALL staff who will be using the system.

In other words comprehensive simulation of the actual use of the software in the business.

In my approach to the Business Systems Laboratory I follow what is best termed “a War Game”
approach. That is, the senior team members participating in the workshop are briefed to “break the
system until you cannot break it anymore!” It is a full blown simulation of the use of the software in the business with particular emphasis on extreme events, exceptions, etcetera – everything
exceptional that could cause problems. Once one can handle ALL exceptions AND routine operation
then the software is ready for deployment.

In this process the Managing Director and all senior staff directly participated in the Laboratory and
War Games so that by the time the Laboratory was complete the software was precisely aligned
with the business and the top team were fully conversant with the software and all staff had been
trained.
The end result of the above process was that the system ran live smoothly with minimum business
disruption and has been used effectively ever since.

That is a typical outcome of a Business Systems Laboratory and War Games well implemented in
accordance with everything that I advocate.

Contact Me

If you find what I share of interest and desire more information please email me and I will share
more detailed information.

Dr James A Robertson

Leave a Reply