• Karissa Warmack

Color by Numbers for Cloud ERP Implementations: Introducing Deployment Templates by GroupSystems

It’s crazy to think we used to customize everything. Custom clothing, custom cars, custom meals and custom enterprise software. ERP systems used to come with years of consulting and custom programming, but as with many things, that has changed too. Of the nearly $47B spent on ERP software licenses annually, about $32B of it is now cloud-based apps. Software is no longer customized. It is configured. Clearly, the advent of configuration was a huge step forward for software companies and Fortune 2000 businesses as it enabled them to simplify how the cloud-based enterprise software adoption. Yet, challenges remain as that configuration comes at a price - Spreadsheet Hell.

Configuring most large cloud ERP software and enterprise apps like Workday, SAP SuccessFactors or Oracle HR requires a near PhD in spreadsheets. Giant behemoth gargantuan spreadsheets with tabs that go on for miles along with error prone data-entry needs that will make your head spin. So, like the famous quote from Leo in the awesome movie Inception, “We need to go deeper!” our GroupSystems team said, “We need to go simpler!” And just like that, the ThinkTank deployment automation templates were born.

Age of the template.

Let’s face it, there’s only so many ways to can configure a Workday deployment. However, there are infinite ways to get the configuration wrong. After all, it’s likely you’ll have a variety of teams, organizations, business units and divisions – worldwide – that won’t agree on anything! They’ll endlessly debate configuration options, or worse…not understand what they are being asked in the first place.

There’s also an art to the business of guiding teams through these implementations, and a science behind the different types of change management and change readiness that is needed to prepare these people for a whole new way of working. It’s a stakeholder management issue more than ever. Understanding, agreement and alignment are critical to a successful ERP deployment. So what better way to achieve it than to guide your stakeholders along a very defined path to success. Using templates help explain and educate them into providing their information, needs and profiles required in each region, department or division.

Templates Are Amazing for Gathering Requirements

Flipcharts, spreadsheets, sticky notes and young analysts flying around the nation and/or globe, to scribe your configuration options is not the most productive – nor the most efficient method for agreeing on global or localized requirements. That painfully inefficient manual process is time consuming and error prone and puts the project (and you!) at risk. Enter the template.


emplates are a directed collaboration ‘playbook’ for how to guide a team through a global or local Oracle implementation, or Workday design for example. They present a blueprint for success that you can use from experts who have done it before. It allows you to empower even less skilled resources to direct important programs that may previously have required a far more skilled and seasoned leader or live workshop facilitator.

Templates Speed up implementations without sacrificing quality

Delivering a successful ERP selection or implementation project on time is no easy feat and certainly doesn’t happen overnight, especially if mistakes are commonplace, and fee write offs are a real risk. Enter the template.

Templates prevent mistakes by enforcing a consistent essential content. Templates describe and define the journey your organization will undertake, and all the key steps to stakeholder alignment around the configuration of a very expensive ERP or enterprise software system. Templates are like a train on rails, a powerful locomotive with modular carriages that can enable every key employee and user to hop aboard, on a defined path to success and collective agreement driving adoption and ROI from your selected software package.

Yes, Increased Adoption.

Build it and they will come? Maybe if you’re building a baseball field, but not when you’re implementing an enterprise-wide solution like Workday or SAP. After all, you’re disrupting the habits of thousands of users and enlisting hundreds of hours of the IT organization’s time to implement the new solution. The odds of full user adoption and project success are much greater if you have the full backing and support of project stakeholders from start to finish.

Enter the template.

Automated self-service forms capture the requirements from global teams, with convenient collaboration and alignment tools to ensure we documented decision making along the way. Alignment and prioritization can now happen collectively, with multiple business units, demographics and geographies enabling simultaneous contribution. More inclusion, contribution and participation ensure positive user engagement, less backtracking on 11th hour requirements ultimately translating to broad user adoption and satisfaction.

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