Friday, January 6, 2012

The Belly of the Beast, Part 4

I promise to tell you how we got here, but not today. I'm a bit tired.

It's always a gratifying point in any IT project when a critical mass of users has turned the corner and begun investing themselves in their new system. I think we're at that point today. There are still some unsolved bugs, some missing data, some processes to nail down.

I've spent two days in México where the bulk of our users work, and the atmosphere is positive. Back in los Estados Unidos de América our users are likewise engaged. A tremendous amount of work has been done and there's a great deal of interest in the capabilities of our new system.

I've mentioned before that we're short on resources, like many businesses in this economic climate. That reality hit us hard shortly after the start of our ERP project and threatened to derail it. But the way forward is to move forward, so here we are, battered and bruised but excited.

We made the decision early on to leave old data in our old Vantage ERP. That's why there's been a big data entry effort for the last few days. We imported parts and inventory data, but decided to sanitize customer and supplier data by entering only active accounts. Our data entry focus has been prioritized using a simple formula: What data do we need today, this week, next week?

The task may seem daunting when confronted with the entirety of it, but in reality flows smoothly and quickly when each user tackles a small piece of it. The advantage of our approach is that we've shed obsolete data and at the same time given users a focused, intense dose of hands-on experience. Kudos to our users for stepping up and getting it done!

The old ERP data will live on in the form of a virtual machine, accessible via RDP with the 4GL Progress client and via ODBC, for more refined slicing and dicing of data.

Bye for now, back to taking care of those last-minute details ...