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Largest Public Sector ERP Implementation an Early Success

The initial post implementation performance measurement review for the world's largest public sector ERP software implementation - and likely world's largest in any sector ERP deployment - have been independently validated and are uncharacteristically encouraging.

The U.S. Navy's Enterprise Resource Planning software project is the largest SAP public-sector implementation in the world. The ERP system now integrates with a Marine Corps Intranet for all authentication and information security functions as well as 12 related Navy information systems and 18 Department of Defense (DOD) software applications. The ERP application manages accounting, distribution, HR, purchasing and maintenance across the Navy’s aviation, maritime, nuclear and supply chain management business functions. The project implementation timeframe spans from 2004 through 2013 and is budgeted at $1.4 billion.

During the course of the Phase I deployment, analysts performed more than 265 business blueprint workshops, 1,500 product transaction workflow scenarios and 200 custom reports, software interfaces, electronic conversions and application enhancements to the packaged SAP ERP software system. Team members also exercised more than 21,000 test scripts, tracked over 1,500 configuration change requests, converted 52.7 million data objects and uploaded about 13.5 million new data elements while achieving a 99.99965% success rate.

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The primary obstacles incurred focused largely on cultural change management and data migration. To prepare for the inevitable change management and user adoption obstacles, the project team published 14 online training tutorials and 65 instructor-led courses which covered virtually every use operation of the new ERP application from multiple vantage points. The project management office (PMO) also garnered active and visible senior command sponsorship along with broad involvement across the Navy hierarchy. Technical obstacles in the data-migration were primarily due to the high number of information systems and the high volume of data for conversion. Recognizing a troubled data conversion could represent an early setback if not proactively managed, project team members conducted early data analysis across all systems in order to verify data quality. This early sampling lead to data cleansing exercises prior to the scheduled conversions. As well stated by Valerie Carpenter, the Navy ERP program manager, “The earlier you start working these preceding issues, the easier it is to adopt the new system and new business processes.” The advanced analysis was instrumental in achieving the massive data conversion according to the original project schedule.

Another surprise which occurred midstream was the change in project management from BearingPoint and IBM to the Navy assuming in-house project management control - while still leveraging the consultants in limited roles. This change allowed the Navy to incorporate new work breakdown structures (WBS), project master schedules and earned value management (EVM) methods. The Navy ERP PMO is primarily run from Annapolis with 55 government employees and as many as 500 consultants.

Following four years of detailed planning followed by two years of carefully scripted pilots, the Navy began their full scale organizational wide ERP system implementation in 2004.

According to Susan Keen, technical director of Navy ERP, the Navy chose to migrate from several custom-built applications to a unified and commercial off the shelf (COTS) ERP system in order to integrate the decision-making processes and enterprise activities in areas such as purchasing, logistics and finance. Carpenter echoed several Navy project objectives and commented, “The Navy needed to modernize and standardize business operations to meet financial compliance law, increase efficiency and improve asset visibility. If we can keep the strategic goals in mind, we can handle the day-to-day challenges just fine.”

Phase 1 has completed its implementation and post implementation measurement review. Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in February 2010 and will include the Navy’s global distribution and supply functions. Phase 3 will add a central system for managing maintenance management activities for aircraft, ships and weapons systems.

When complete, the back office ERP systems will integrate with approximately 50 legacy information systems and over 20 DOD systems. An additional 13 commands and 109,000 users will be introduced, reaching a total user count 185,000. By 2021, the ERP application is forecasted to manage the federal agencies entire budget, replacing the existing Standard Accounting and Reporting System. “The end result is a better equipped Navy that is better able to support the warfighter,” said Carpenter.

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tags Tags: ERP software, SAP

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ERP Headlines is the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software industry leader in online news and information delivery. ERP Headlines delivers reader-focused relevant content in the areas of ERP Industry Events, ERP Software Selection Insight, Software Implementation Experience, ERP Software Analysis, ERP Software Reviews, Best Practices, Case Studies and other aides which collectively contribute information, intelligence and insight for ERP industry practitioners and participants.

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