Leading examination provider delivers new cloud-based ERP solution on time and budget
One of the UK’s leading examination and qualifications providers engaged us to help them define their ERP system strategy and to select and implement a market leading cloud-based solution.
Over the first year of the programme we defined the strategy, including implementation plan and business case, we developed an initial design and short-listed three potential suppliers, ran a competitive procurement process to select the SaaS package and kicked off the implementation. The SaaS solution is being implemented in phases over two years including complex integrations with a new examination operational system which is being delivered in parallel.
The programme is on schedule to deliver significant improvements in efficiency, achieve a key part of the organisation’s digital transformation strategy and realise the planned benefits of £0.5 million per year.
This market leading not-for-profit organisation had a legacy finance and HR system based on out-of-date, complex, highly customised and poorly implemented package systems. The executive team were keen to move to a modern off the shelf ERP solution but needed to manage the implementation very carefully as the organisation was already in the process of implementing a very large-scale bespoke IT system for its core operations.
Monro Consulting was initially engaged to carry out an ERP Strategy and Planning stage, the key outputs of which were an outline business case, a long list of potential solutions, and an assessment of the implementation options. This provided the impetus to set up an ERP transformation programme to shortlist, select and deliver an integrated off-the-shelf cloud-based package solution.
Key problems and challenges
At the outset the major challenge was to balance the urgent need to replace inefficient existing ERP systems against the imperative to avoid too much technical and business change on top of an already complex portfolio of system and business changes. Secondly, the existing systems, both operational and back-office finance and HR, had been heavily customised and modified over many years leading to an inventory of over a hundred distinct interfaces and integrations.
On completion of the Strategy and Planning stage we kicked off a high-level solution and integration design alongside a software demonstration and short-listing exercise.
One of the critical success factors during this stage was the appointment and involvement of a range of key “product owners” from the business. The aim was to involve these key stakeholders from the outset, helping to design the overall solution as well as taking part in a range of different software demonstrations. In this way, the organisation was able to build up a strong team of key employees who knew their business, understood how the parts of the solution should fit together, and became knowledgeable about the state of the ERP software market. This second stage produced a final short-list of cloud-based packages, a more detailed business case and a set of implementation plan options.
The third stage focused on setting up and running a competitive procurement process to select one of the three cloud-based ERP packages and to flesh out the design of the key integrations that would be required with existing retained systems. More importantly we also needed to design and cost the integrations that would be required with the bespoke operational system currently in delivery.
During this stage we also put significant effort into business change management, with a particular focus on communications, but also on assessing the impact on the business of this additional technology and business change. The key business challenge was to plan an ERP roll-out strategy on top of what was already a complex and busy operational schedule and for an organisation that was, in parallel, also completely replacing its examination system with new state-of-the-art technology.
On completion of stage 3, we had helped the organisation to select the preferred supplier, negotiate a very good value-for-money contract, finalise the business case and implementation plan, and to gain approval from the Board of Trustees to kick-off the implementation.
Our customer has selected and is now implementing a world-class cloud ERP solution, and is following a well thought-through and low-risk implementation plan, underpinned by a solid business case, and strong programme management disciplines.
“The Monro Consulting team have provided very high quality advice and guidance throughout this challenging ERP programme. They bring a huge amount of practical, hands on experience and have worked very effectively in partnership with the management and staff of our organisation.
We are very pleased with the cloud-based package we’ve selected, we have a very solid business case and a robust implementation plan which we are now executing with the ongoing, highly valued support of the Monro Consulting team.”
Director of Finance and Commercial
ERP Programme Sponsor