You hear the stats all the time – 50% or more of all ERP projects fail to meet their objectives. And the reasons are as varied as the people that use them. One area where many projects stumble is around user acceptance testing (UAT). It may seem like a small part when compared to the setup, configuration and deployment of a solution, but in fact, it is critical to the project’s success.
PC Bennett takes a very direct approach to communication with our clients, and we start every project kickoff with a thorough outline of the phases the team will need to go through. It includes a frank discussion about the potential pitfalls, including user testing.
Technology is only as effective as the people who use it. If your team doesn’t embrace the change, the project will never realize its ROI.
One of the keys to helping users feel comfortable with testing and providing feedback on the new system is having complete support and buy-in from top management. It can come in the form of email communication, company-wide Zoom calls, enlisting department advocates to help reinforce the message, and even gamification with kudos and prizes for those who contribute the most.
Our Customer Auto Action Group, came up with a creative way to make sure their employees test Acumatica, their new ERP system. They started wearing badges to spark conversation about the user testing, “What have you done in Acumatica today?”
”Auto Action, a lot like other companies, get caught up in the day-to-day challenges business presents. We try to find ways to reinforce the need to focus continuously on things outside this daily scope. The badges help us give friendly reminders each day that Acumatica testing needs to be part of those daily tasks.Jared Cohen (shown here wearing the badge)CEO / Owner, Auto Action Group
I love their creativity and can’t wait to see them live on the software so they can experience all the benefits of running their business on Acumatica Cloud ERP!
Auto Action Group started this project right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which presented its own challenges. But we approached it with a plan to document their processes with flowcharts and swim lane diagrams, videos of their day-to-day activities, and collaboration tools to keep everyone in sync.
The Project Team
Auto Action Group involved several key team members, including the CEO, from the beginning in the project, which has enabled the success to date. Involvement and buy-in from top management is essential to manage the change that is required of an organization when they upgrade to any new ERP solution.
Key Drivers for Change
Auto Action Group was on a very old DOS-based system, DB3, that just could not keep up with the demands of today’s business, particularly timely and accurate reporting. They also wanted to be on a modern system.
In addition, they were using a home-grown web application for job management.
New System Requirements
The team at Auto Action Group agreed that what they needed was something packaged that could run their business from end to end. A configurable, off-the-shelf application, as they were tired of depending on one person to maintain their legacy system. In addition, they wanted:
- A solution able to support formal processes and procedures – in order to see operational efficiencies, they needed to improve their day to day processes and wanted a system that could help them stay true to those processes.
- An intuitive interface that is easy to learn – they wanted to minimize the learning curve for their team.
- A scalable, secure and accessible – they needed a true cloud solution that would enable their teams to work efficiently from anywhere, including the field. They also wanted to be able to add staff without adding technology costs.
- Robust, native reporting capabilities – possibly the most critical requirement they had was for management to have a 360-degree view of the business health and profitability through dashboards, alerts and KPI monitoring.
- Field service management specifically for automotive industry to replace their custom job management system, which PC Bennett brought to life with AutoFitmentPlus.
- Streamlined CRM capabilities.After failing with many off the shelf products such as salesforce, they found they needed the CRM to be embeded in the solution to achieve better company buyin.
Now that Auto Action Group is in the final stretch of their Acumatica deployment, they can see the benefits on the horizon, and are diligently testing and trying out the features.
Keys to Success
Now that the bulk of the project is in the rearview mirror, they had this advice to anyone looking to update their systems.
- Keep it simple, streamline, and eliminate special needs wherever possible
- Focus on the why and not the how
- Crawl, walk, run
- Prepare well and communicate often
- Pick your partner wisely; it’s a relationship you’ll have for a long time
- Know that it will involve change and growth, which will be challenging
- Try to have a little fun with it