Feb 20, 2008

Importance of soft skills for an ERP implementer

The title sounds like a cliche. 'Importance of soft skills'?. Of course an ERP implementation consultant needs soft skills like communication skills, listening skills etc. Isn't it why we give them training on soft skills?
I also went thru these training. But read on.....
On the first day of my first ERP implementation, (in the year 2001, when risk management in ERP implementation was not much in vogue) we were having a meeting with the MD of the organization. This was a small organization in the manufacturing sector. On being asked his expectation from the implementation, he replied 'I want to see a trial balance from the system that matches my current trial balance from the legacy system'.
Simple expectation?...
While loading the data into the ERP system, I observed numerous data errors in the legacy data.There were duplicate invoice entered in one month, which were not correctly reversed / deleted in the same month, or reversed in the current month, again reentered in the next month against a different supplier, payments updated but cash not updated, multiple suppliers....
Royal mess it was...
After discussing with the finance manager, we decided that we will rectify the errors and get the correct data into the ERP system. We did not want wrong / rubbish data in the ERP system. The finance manager gave us the go ahead and we went ahead...
Of course the TB did not tally...
MD rejected the implementation outright. He reminded us of his expectation on day one. It turned out that the finance manager did not have much of a say in the organization's proceedings and MD was taking all decisions. He was worried when the internal auditor told him that the ERP implementation was a failure. The internal auditor was covering his tracks for not identifying the data mistakes.
Of course, we had to reverse all the data that we entered in ERP and enter the wrong data to match the TB......
If only I had listened properly....

Do you have any such experiences which demonstrates the importance of 'Soft Skills'? Do share with us

3 comments:

k.lalith said...

Its very important for a functional consultant to first understand the requirement of the client. It starts from the basic business study, process of transactions, and last but not least the important one is the "Legacy Data Migration"

Its must for the consultant to ask for the legacy data from the client in a proper standard oracle format. Now for this, the consultant should explain the client that there are certain standard control and clearing accounts which should be created in the Chart of Accounts. Without which data migration will go for a toss. We should create all these accounts and then do the data migration.

Before doing the data migration, consultant should link all the correct default accounts in the setups which is very important.

Once the above process is done, then its very easy to migrate the data.

Ramaswamy VK said...

Lalith,
I agree with you entirely. Knowing the importance of a good template, you would think that an organization may have these as a standard reuseable component. But I am surprised to see the number of implementations where we start off without any templates and later on learn to prepare one thru a series of iterations.
It is sad, if you look at it.

Rahul Pawar said...

Great Blog !!!
It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort.
Importance of erp in business is increase as it allows Purchases and expenditures to registered in a centralized database.
Thanks for sharing such a nice post...