The Forecast Calls for Cloud – Modify your Implementation Methodology to Adapt
Analysts and technology gurus all agree that ERP solutions will not be excluded from the fast growing trend of cloud computing. As a result, savvy ERP partners will have included a review and refinement of their Project Delivery Methods on their list of 2011 New Year Resolutions.
The principles of cloud computing that will most impact project delivery are:
1) The comparatively low service to software ratio (between .08 and .2 depending on who you talk to as compared with the 2.17 that “traditional ERP Partners report);
2) The increased importance of managing customer churn and creating a sticky customer experience.
Increased efficiency, faster implementations and high levels of customer satisfaction become essentials for partner survival. So what are the elements of your Implementation Methodology that can be modified to deliver this?
Increased efficiency and faster implementations means fewer upfront services.
Fewer up front services will mean less customization. The Sure Step Rapid project type methodology will be the most appropriate in many cases. The Analysis phase will consist of Feature Selection and templated Gap Analysis. This assumes that the ERP partner will have template solutions available to offer.
The typical ERP cloud customer will not be prepared to invest in extensive business process analysis and requirements and process reviews. With limited customization, the Design and Develop phases can be combined into a configuration, data conversion and testing step. The template solution will be configured for the customer, data conversions designed and tested.
Where there is customization required it is more likely to be performed according to the Agile Project type method in Sure Step – that is in increments once the initial solution is implemented. Large upfront design phases that are often advisable in on premise projects will not be cost effective in the cloud.
Training and Support are more important than ever!
Partner profitability in delivering cloud based solutions is largely dependent on the length of time that a customer will stay with the solution (a.k.a. “customer stickiness”). At the same time the cloud customer has less invested in terms of both money and time and is therefore more likely to walk away than an on premise customer.
Outstanding training and support is a critical component of the customer experience. Partners need to be prepared to deliver whatever it takes in terms of training and support to ensure that the customer is happy with the solution from the beginning.
This “White Glove” support will not only ensure customer retention but also increase upsell and cross sell opportunities and referrals – all of which are essential ingredients for continued ERP cloud delivery success!