Requirements Analysis and Planning¶
Requirements analysis and planning are the keys to the success of an implementation. At this stage, you should set up a management team to define the costs and benefits of the project, select a project team, and set out the detailed stages that will have to be carried out.
OpenERP is so easy to start using that it is not always obvious, particularly to IT staff, that a clear requirements plan is necessary for implementing the system successfully. The difficulty is not particularly in installing the software nor in configuring it, but rather more about:
knowing what to configure,
deciding if you should adapt the software, or perhaps change your method of working, for some of your specialized processes,
forming teams that can specify and work on some of the changes,
ensuring that your users are committed to the change.
ERP system implementation is a project carried out using information technology, but it is a business project rather than an IT project in itself. The challenge of this type of project is in changing the behaviour of those involved at all levels of the enterprise.
People in the IT department will certainly be an integral part of the project, but they should be managed by someone in a senior position, who both understands the business impact across the organization and has experience of technical projects. Ideally, the project manager should know the company well, both its specific quirks and its different standard cross-company processes.
If the enterprise does not have its own IT group, you are probably better off opting for a SaaS offer. This means that you subcontract all the difficult technology, from the installation of the server to its maintenance, all the while being assured of the installation of a robust architecture with its redundancy, backed-up servers, and separation of authentication and data.
Planning methods vary in their degree of complexity, formality and level of automation. It is not the intention of this chapter to steer you towards one method or the other.
OpenERP's menus are organized to lead you through an implementation in a sensible order, so that information that has to be entered first is encountered first in the menu system. Forms are also organized so that if you enter data in the natural order, you will get later fields completed automatically by the earlier ones where possible. And demonstration data illustrates how OpenERP's functional areas are linked from one to the other
The menus themselves hint at several helpful implementation suggestions, for example, the sub-menus of Administration ‣ Configuration are useful for the configuration of the software. New functions such as the Module Recorder enable you to significantly accelerate the configuration of data.