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9 Documentation for Implementing any ERP System

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9 Documentation Musts for ERP Implementation & Project Plan

9 Documentation for Implementing any ERP System

ERP system implementation can be tricky if various areas of work are not documented properly. Enterprise resource planning software are developed based on various documentation which we will discuss in this blog post. Although; it is not necessary to keep all the documents ready but having 9 Documentation for implementing any ERP system would be fruitful and easy during and after the implementation.

9 ERP documentation ERP Project Life Cycle

  • #1 – Scope Document

Scope document for ERP is one of the basic step any organization will take forward in order to ensure all the parameters and functions are defined and documented. Scope document can be prepared by the internal team or through ERP consultancy firm such as Functional Consultant. 

Although a Scope document may not be completely define the ERP requirements in some cases but it provides a clarity to the vendor and management on what goals needs to be achieve through ERP software implementation. It also define common understanding of what will be included and excluded from the implementation. It helps to manage expectations, minimize scope creep, and ensure the project stays on track.

Typically, a Scope Document for an ERP project includes the following key components:

  1. Project Objectives: Clearly state the objectives and expected outcomes of the ERP implementation project, such as improving business processes, increasing operational efficiency, or integrating disparate systems.
  2. Project Deliverables: Specify the tangible outputs and results that will be delivered as part of the project, such as a fully configured ERP system, documented business processes, and training materials.
  3. In-Scope and Out-of-Scope Items: Define the functionalities, modules, and processes that will be included in the ERP implementation. Also, explicitly mention any specific items or functionalities that will not be part of the project scope.
  4. Project Timeline:  Provide an estimated timeline or project schedule, including major milestones and key activities, to give a sense of the project’s duration and important deadlines.
  5. Assumptions and Constraints: Identify any assumptions or constraints that may impact the project, such as resource limitations, budgetary constraints, or technical dependencies.
  6. Change Management: Outline the approach and strategies for managing change within the organization, including training plans, communication strategies, and user adoption activities.
  7. Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder involved in the project, including the project team, management, and external consultants.

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  • Business needs

Each department and functional area that is impacted by an ERP implementation will have different needs from the new system. To ensure that everyone benefits from the implementation, it’s critical to comprehend these various expectations. The project team and integration partners benefit greatly from valuable insight into the best system configurations that comes from documenting the full range of business needs.

The purpose of a Business Needs Document is to clearly articulate the organization’s current pain points, challenges, and desired outcomes in relation to its business processes and operations. It helps in aligning the ERP project with the organization’s strategic objectives and serves as a reference for the project team, management, and ERP consultants.

A comprehensive Business Needs Document for an ERP project typically includes the following key components:

  1. Current Business Processes:
    Describe the existing business processes and workflows within the organization, highlighting any inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or pain points that need to be addressed.
  2. Desired Business Objectives:
    Clearly state the desired outcomes, goals, and objectives that the organization aims to achieve through the implementation of the ERP system. This could include improving operational efficiency, enhancing data visibility, streamlining supply chain processes, or improving customer service.
  3. Functional Requirements:
    Specify the specific functionalities and features required from the ERP system to meet the organization’s business needs. This may include modules such as financial management, inventory management, sales, purchasing, manufacturing, human resources, and more.
  4. Reporting and Analytics:
    Outline the reporting and analytics requirements, including the type of reports and dashboards needed, key performance indicators (KPIs), and data visualization requirements.
  5. Integration Requirements:
    Identify any integration needs with existing systems or third-party applications that the ERP system should seamlessly connect with.
  6. Security and Compliance:
    Outline the security and compliance requirements, including data protection, user access control, regulatory compliance, and auditing capabilities.
  7. Organizational Change Management:
    Describe the approach and strategies for managing organizational change, user adoption, and training requirements to ensure successful implementation and user acceptance.
  • Business processes

Before the team can design and launch an ERP solution that serves the organization’s needs, you should first understand the business processes that will flow through the platform or be affected by its implementation. By thoroughly documenting each process, you’ll gain a comprehensive view of which processes will change, where new processes are needed, and where redundant processes can be consolidated. 

The purpose of a Business Process Document is to analyze and document the organization’s current business processes, identify areas for improvement, and design efficient and optimized processes within the ERP system. It serves as a reference for the ERP implementation team, stakeholders, and end-users to understand the current state and desired future state of business processes.

A well-prepared Business Process Document typically includes the following components:

  1. Process Descriptions:
    Provide detailed descriptions of the organization’s current business processes, including inputs, outputs, activities, decision points, and stakeholders involved.
  2. Process Maps and Flowcharts:
    Visual representations, such as process maps and flowcharts, can be included to illustrate the flow and sequence of activities within each process.
  3. Process Roles and Responsibilities:
    Identify the roles and responsibilities of individuals or departments involved in each process, outlining their responsibilities, authority, and interactions.
  4. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
    Define the metrics and KPIs that measure the performance and effectiveness of each process, allowing for monitoring and continuous improvement.
  5. Process Pain Points and Challenges:
    Identify the pain points, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies within the current processes that the organization aims to address through the implementation of the ERP system.
  6. Future State Processes:
    Design the optimized processes that align with best practices and the capabilities of the ERP system. This includes documenting any changes or improvements to be made, new process flows, and the expected benefits.
  7. Process Gap Analysis:
    Analyze the gaps between the current state and future state processes, highlighting the areas where the ERP system will bring improvements and where customization or configuration may be required.
  • Support groups and their areas of responsibility

The successful completion of your ERP implementation is being aided by numerous sub-teams. Even though some people don’t work directly with the new technology, their assistance is crucial to getting the system up and running. Keep a record of those support groups and their duties. This aids stakeholders in understanding where help is offered, what resources are available, and how to approach them for assistance.

The purpose of this document is to provide clarity on the support structure, escalation paths, and responsibilities within the ERP system support framework. It serves as a reference for both the support teams and end-users to understand who to contact for specific types of support and the scope of each support group’s responsibilities.

A well-defined Support Groups and Their Areas of Responsibility document typically includes the following components:

  1. Support Groups and Teams:
    Identify and describe the different support groups or teams involved in supporting the ERP system. Examples may include Help Desk, Technical Support, Functional Support, Database Administrators, and System Administrators.
  2. Roles and Responsibilities:
    Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each support group, outlining their specific areas of expertise and the types of issues they are responsible for handling.
  3. Support Levels and Escalation Paths:
    Define the support levels or tiers within the support structure, specifying the criteria for escalation from one level to another. This helps ensure efficient handling of support requests and escalation of critical issues when required.
  4. Incident Management:
    Outline the incident management process, including how incidents are reported, categorized, prioritized, assigned, and tracked. This helps in ensuring that incidents are properly managed and resolved within defined timelines.
  5. Communication and Collaboration:
    Define the communication channels and protocols to be followed for effective collaboration between support teams, end-users, and stakeholders. This includes communication methods, response times, and channels for reporting and tracking support requests.
  6. Service Level Agreements (SLAs):
    Specify the SLAs or service targets for different types of support requests, such as response times, resolution times, and availability of support.
  7. Knowledge Base and Documentation:
    Describe the process for maintaining a knowledge base and documentation repository that contains solutions, best practices, and troubleshooting guides. This facilitates knowledge sharing and enables faster resolution of common issues.
  • Internal and external integrations

The ERP platforms of today are capable of integrating with a wide range of other systems, both inside the company and across a number of external vendors, service providers, and information sources. In order to maintain good system security, guarantee uninterrupted data flows, and provide a positive user experience, these connection points must be thoroughly documented.

The purpose of this document is to identify the integration points and requirements, both within the organization’s internal systems and with external systems or partners. It serves as a reference for the integration team, stakeholders, and technical personnel involved in configuring and implementing the integrations.

A well-prepared Internal and External Integrations document typically includes the following components:

  1. Internal Integration Requirements:
    Identify the internal systems and applications within the organization that need to be integrated with the ERP system. This may include systems such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management), HRMS (Human Resources Management System), inventory management, e-commerce platforms, production systems, and more.
  2. External Integration Requirements:
    Identify the external systems or partners that require integration with the ERP system. This could involve integrating with suppliers, customers, logistics providers, payment gateways, or other third-party systems.
  3. Integration Objectives:
    Clearly state the objectives and expected outcomes of the integrations. This may include improving data accuracy, streamlining information exchange, eliminating manual data entry, or improving business process efficiency.
  4. Integration Scope:
    Define the scope of the integrations, specifying the data elements, processes, and functionalities that need to be integrated. This helps to prioritize integration efforts and focus on critical integration points.
  5. Integration Methods and Technologies:
    Outline the integration methods and technologies to be used for each integration, such as API (Application Programming Interface) integration, file-based integration, web services, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), or middleware tools.
  6. Data Mapping and Transformation:
    Describe the data mapping and transformation requirements between the ERP system and the integrated systems. This includes defining the data formats, field mappings, data validation rules, and any necessary data transformations.
  7. Security and Authorization:
    Address the security and authorization aspects of the integrations, ensuring that data exchanges are secure, and access controls are implemented to protect sensitive information.
  8. Testing and Validation:
    Define the approach and plan for testing and validating the integrations to ensure data accuracy, system compatibility, and smooth operation between the ERP system and the integrated systems.
  • Security and privacy practices

Once the new ERP system is operational, the current cybersecurity and data privacy regulations may no longer be appropriate. You might need to take into account greater regulatory governance, different types of information, and increased data volume. It is possible for your company to put in place the necessary controls and procedures to continue to be compliant when using the new platform if you have detailed documentation of your current security and privacy practises.

The purpose of this document is to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to data security and privacy and to provide guidelines for maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data within the ERP system. It helps establish trust with stakeholders and ensures compliance with applicable laws and regulations related to data protection.

A well-prepared Security and Privacy Practices document typically includes the following components:

  1. Data Security Measures:
    Describe the technical and organizational security measures in place to protect the ERP system and the data it manages. This may include access controls, user authentication, encryption, network security, vulnerability management, and disaster recovery planning.
  2. Data Privacy Policies:
    Define the organization’s policies and practices regarding data privacy, including how personal and sensitive data is collected, processed, stored, and shared within the ERP system. This includes adherence to relevant privacy regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act).
  3. User Access and Authorization:
    Specify the procedures and controls for granting user access rights to the ERP system, ensuring that access is granted on a need-to-know basis. This may include user role definitions, access controls, segregation of duties, and user account management.
  4. Data Encryption:
    Outline the encryption methods and practices used to protect sensitive data stored within the ERP system or transmitted between systems. This ensures that data remains confidential and protected from unauthorized access.
  5. Incident Response and Management:
    Describe the procedures for identifying, responding to, and managing security incidents or breaches within the ERP system. This includes incident reporting, investigation, containment, and recovery procedures.
  6. Data Retention and Disposal:
    Address the policies and practices for data retention and disposal within the ERP system. This ensures that data is retained only for the required period and is securely disposed of when no longer needed.
  7. Auditing and Monitoring:
    Explain the processes and tools in place to monitor and audit the ERP system’s activities, including user actions, system changes, and data access. This helps in detecting any unauthorized activities and ensures accountability.
  8. Employee Training and Awareness:
    Highlight the training and awareness programs implemented to educate employees about security and privacy practices, promoting a security-conscious culture within the organization.
  • Customization requirements and expectations

The scope and depth of customizations the business wants to implement are the one area in an ERP implementation project where scope creep is most likely to happen. Compile detailed descriptions of the anticipated software changes and keep track of which stakeholder group (or groups) requested each one to keep customizations under control.

The purpose of this document is to clearly define the customization requirements and desired outcomes to ensure that the ERP system is tailored to the organization’s specific requirements. It helps manage expectations, ensure alignment between stakeholders, and provide a reference for the customization process.

A well-prepared Customization Requirements and Expectations document typically includes the following components:

  1. Customization Objectives:
    Clearly state the objectives and expected outcomes of the customization efforts. This may include improving specific business processes, enhancing user experience, integrating with external systems, or implementing unique features.
  2. Customization Scope:
    Define the scope of the customizations, specifying which modules, functionalities, or specific areas of the ERP system require customization. This helps in prioritizing customization efforts and focusing on critical areas.
  3. Customization Specifications:
    Provide detailed specifications for each customization requirement. This includes documenting the desired changes, new features, user interface modifications, workflow enhancements, reports, or any other specific customizations needed.
  4. Data Customization:
    Identify any specific data requirements or modifications needed within the ERP system. This may include data fields, data structures, data validation rules, or data migration requirements.
  5. Integration Requirements:
    Specify any integration requirements with external systems or third-party applications that need to be customized or developed. This could involve defining the data exchange formats, APIs, or communication protocols.
  6. Security and Access Control:
    Define any specific security requirements or access control rules that need to be customized within the ERP system. This may include user roles, permissions, data segregation, or multi-level approval processes.
  7. User Interface and User Experience:
    Document any specific expectations for the user interface design, layout, navigation, or usability enhancements required to improve the user experience within the ERP system.
  8. Reporting and Analytics:
    Specify any custom reporting or analytics requirements, including the specific data elements, key performance indicators (KPIs), dashboards, or advanced analytics functionalities needed.
  9. Change Management:
    Address the change management aspects of the customizations, including communication plans, user training requirements, and strategies for user adoption and acceptance of the customized ERP system.
  • Data management needs and processes

It is wise to document the steps required to clean, format, and migrate data that will enter the platform because there are frequently multiple sources sharing data through an ERP system, including internal departments and external partners. Everyone has access to the information they need to avoid entering inaccurate data into the new solution thanks to clear and concise protocols.

The purpose of this document is to define the organization’s data management needs, establish guidelines for data management processes, and ensure the accuracy, integrity, availability, and security of data within the ERP system.

A well-prepared Data Management Needs and Processes document typically includes the following components:

  1. Data Governance Framework:
    Define the data governance framework that outlines the roles, responsibilities, and processes for managing data within the organization. This includes data ownership, data stewardship, data policies, and data management committees.
  2. Data Quality Management:
    Specify the processes and procedures for ensuring data quality within the ERP system. This may include data validation rules, data cleansing procedures, data enrichment processes, and data quality metrics.
  3. Data Integration and Exchange:
    Define the processes and mechanisms for integrating data from various sources into the ERP system. This includes data integration interfaces, data import/export processes, and data synchronization between the ERP system and other systems.
  4. Master Data Management:
    Address the management of master data within the ERP system, including the identification, creation, maintenance, and governance of core data entities such as customers, vendors, products, and employees.
  5. Data Security and Privacy:
    Define the processes and measures to ensure the security and privacy of data within the ERP system. This includes access controls, user authentication, data encryption, data masking, and compliance with relevant data protection regulations.
  6. Data Backup and Recovery:
    Specify the processes and procedures for data backup and recovery to ensure data availability and business continuity. This includes defining backup schedules, storage mechanisms, and disaster recovery plans.
  7. Data Retention and Archiving:
    Define the policies and practices for data retention and archiving within the ERP system. This includes identifying data retention periods, archiving procedures, and data disposal processes in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Training program

You can assess how well each component of your training programme fits with the functions and features of the new ERP solution by keeping a thorough record of it. List the supplies that attendees of the training will receive, and keep track of how the in-person and online training modules will progress. With this fundamental documentation in place, you’ll also find it simpler to maintain an efficient refresher programme.

The purpose of the Training Program document is to define the training objectives, scope, content, delivery methods, and timelines for the ERP system’s training initiatives. It helps in ensuring a smooth transition to the new system, promoting user adoption, and facilitating the successful implementation of the ERP system.

A well-prepared Training Program document typically includes the following components:

  1. Training Objectives:
    Clearly state the objectives of the training program, such as familiarizing users with the ERP system’s functionalities, enabling them to perform specific tasks, or enhancing their understanding of relevant business processes.
  2. Target Audience:
    Identify the target audience for the training program, including end-users, managers, administrators, or other relevant stakeholders. Tailor the training content and delivery methods to suit the specific needs of each user group.
  3. Training Needs Analysis:
    Conduct a thorough assessment of the training needs of the end-users. This involves identifying knowledge gaps, skill levels, and any specific training requirements based on job roles and responsibilities.
  4. Training Content:
    Define the content of the training program, including training modules, topics, and learning objectives. This may include system navigation, data entry, report generation, specific module functionalities, and best practices related to using the ERP system.
  5. Training Methods and Delivery:
    Specify the training methods and delivery formats to be used, such as instructor-led training, online training modules, e-learning, workshops, or a combination of these. Determine the most appropriate delivery method based on the audience, availability, and training objectives.
  6. Training Materials and Resources:
    Identify the training materials and resources required, such as user manuals, training guides, job aids, system documentation, and access to the ERP system for hands-on practice.
  7. Training Schedule and Timeline:
    Create a training schedule and timeline that outlines the dates, duration, and locations of the training sessions. Ensure that the schedule accommodates the availability and needs of the participants.
  8. Evaluation and Feedback:
    Define the methods for evaluating the effectiveness of the training program, such as assessments, quizzes, or feedback surveys. Use the feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to the training program.
  9. Post-Training Support:
    Address the post-training support mechanisms, such as a help desk, user forums, or dedicated support staff, to provide ongoing assistance and address any questions or issues that arise after the training.

Data Analytics and Reporting: Address the processes and tools for data analytics and reporting within the ERP system. This includes defining key performance indicators (KPIs), reporting requirements, data visualization tools, and data analysis processes.

Data Documentation and Metadata Management: Document the processes and standards for data documentation and metadata management within the ERP system. This includes data dictionaries, data lineage, data models, and metadata management practices.

  • Documentation of ERP System Implementation Project Plan

Projects to implement ERP are difficult and have many moving parts. Because of this, documentation is crucial to the project’s success. The following are some of the most crucial documents that ERP implementation projects absolutely must have:

  1. Requirements Document:
    The business needs that the ERP system must address are listed in the requirements document. It should be as thorough as possible so that the vendor can determine the complexity of the project and create a solution that satisfies the client’s requirements.
  2. Functional Design Document (FDD):
    The FDD outlines the configuration of the ERP system to meet business needs. The modules, procedures, and workflows of the system should be represented in detail by diagrams and descriptions.
  3. Technical Design Document (TDD):
    The TDD details the technical specifications of the ERP system, including the needed hardware and software, database architecture, and security measures.
  4. Test Plan:
    The tests that will be run to make sure the ERP system complies with the requirements and is prepared for deployment are described in the test plan.
  5. Training Plan:
    The training programme is outlined in the training plan for ERP system users. It should outline the subjects that will be covered, the techniques that will be employed, and the training schedule.
  6. Change Management Plan:
    The organization’s strategy for managing the changes brought on by the implementation of the ERP is laid out in the change management plan. The plans for communication, training, and support should all be included.

There might be additional documentation needed for particular projects in addition to these crucial ones. For instance, if the Statement of Work (SOW) and the ERP system are integrated: 

The SOW serves as the official contract between the client and the ERP vendor. The project’s scope, deliverables, timeline, and budget should all be clearly stated. There will need to be documentation that outlines the integration process with other systems.

The organisation can improve its chances of success by thoroughly documenting the ERP implementation project. The documentation will aid in ensuring that everyone is operating from the same set of guidelines, that the project is finished on schedule and within budget, and that the ERP system satisfies business requirements.

Additional tips of Effective ERP Process Documentation.

  1. Speak in simple clear language
  2. Create detailed documentation as much as possible.
  3. Diagrams and illustration is useful. It assist to understand complex concepts to the clients.  
  4. Stakeholders should be consulted at various stages of the documentation process.
  5. Maintain the documentation’s accuracy.

Final Thoughts

ERP implementation projects must include adequate ERP documentation. By providing a clear understanding of the plan of the business requirements, the process flows, and the technical specifications, it could help to ensure the project’s success.

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