“A fool with a tool is still a fool.” This is what a customer once said when we asked him why his company documents with FlowShare. This hits an important point: The best and most expensive software is of little value if people cannot use it . Therefore, it is an absolute must to provide comprehensive process documentation and instructions when introducing new systems – especially ERP systems. When it comes to documentation in ERP projects, there are eight aspects you should definitely consider to ensure that the ERP implementation is a success.
Why documentation is indispensable in ERP projects
The implementation phase of an ERP project is critical to the success of the project. Careful planning, clear communication, comprehensive testing, and smooth training are essential factors in ensuring that the ERP solution successfully transitions into productive operation and delivers the expected value to the business.
Inadequate documentation in the implementation phase leads to a number of challenges that jeopardize the success of the ERP project. To avoid these problems, thorough and comprehensive documentation is critical from the start. This is the only way to ensure a smooth implementation and successful operation of the ERP solution.
When it comes to documentation in ERP projects, two forms of documentation are particularly relevant, namely
- the test report and
- the training documentation.
The main purpose of the test report is to ensure that the system works properly and meets business requirements before going live.
The aim of the training documentation is to introduce the users of the system to processes, retain process knowledge and ensure compliance. New and existing employees can be trained equally. In addition, training through documentation materials is sometimes much more flexible and effective than individual training sessions.
Risks for the ERP project in case of insufficient documentation
Lacking or even completely missing documentation will sooner or later lead to problems. These include:
- Ambiguities and misunderstandings: Without clear documentation of requirements and design, there is an increased risk of ambiguity and misunderstanding during ERP implementation. The developers and configurators might not fully understand the business requirements and the ERP system might not meet the actual needs of the business.
- Lack of traceability: Poor documentation can mean that changes and adjustments in the system are not traceable. This makes it difficult to identify errors, track changes, and understand the impact of decisions.
- Difficult training and familiarization: Without adequate guidance, it is more difficult for employees to understand and use the ERP system effectively.
- Delays and cost increases: Lack of documentation can lead to delays in the project, as decisions about adjustments and configurations have to be reviewed again and again.
- Risk management: Inadequate documentation makes risk management more difficult, as potential risks may not be identified or adequately addressed.
- Lack of compliance and auditability: Inadequate documentation creates difficulties in demonstrating compliance.
- Knowledge loss: Without adequate documentation, there is a risk of knowledge loss, especially when employees leave the company or new employees come on board.
Documentation in ERP projects: 8 reasons why you should definitely document
When most people hear the word “document,” they think primarily of an unwanted extra expense. However, documentation during the implementation phase forms the basis for the entire life cycle of the ERP system and is therefore of high importance.
It enables clear and structured implementation, ensures that business requirements are met, facilitates employee adoption and use, and serves as an important resource for ongoing maintenance, enhancement, and improvement of the system over time.
In other words, the probability of a successful ERP implementation that meets the specified timeframe, satisfies stakeholders, optimizes processes, and successfully introduces users to the new system increases significantly through consistent documentation. The documentation of ERP processes is particularly relevant for these 8 aspects.
1. Configuration and customizations
During ERP implementation, the ERP system and its modules are configured and customized according to the company’s specific business requirements. The technical documentation of these configurations is important to understand how the system was designed and what functionalities were enabled or disabled.
2. Compliance and regulatory conformity
Many companies are subject to certain legal regulations and industry standards. Documentation of the implementation is necessary to ensure that the ERP system has been set up in accordance with these specifications.
3. Requirements reconciliation
Documentation during ERP implementation enables comparison between original business requirements and actual configurations. This can ensure that the ERP system contains all the necessary functions and processes to achieve the defined goals.
4. Education and training
The documentation is an essential tool for training employees who will use the ERP system after implementation. Clear instructions facilitate the introduction and effective use of the system.
Errors may occur or unexpected problems may arise during ERP implementation. The test reports are absolutely essential for this in order to ensure that the system functions without errors.
6. Project documentation
Comprehensive documentation is essential for project management to monitor project progress, evaluate project success, and optimize future ERP implementation projects.
7. Knowledge Management
The implementation phase often involves working with external consultants or experts. The documentation ensures that the valuable knowledge of these experts is preserved in the company for the future for example through a wiki or knowledge base.
8. Risk management
The implementation of an ERP system involves potential risks. Through documentation, potential risk areas can be identified and appropriate measures can be taken to minimize or avoid these risks.
Mastering documentation in ERP projects: Here’s how to do it
You see: Documentation during ERP implementation is extremely important and at the same time a great challenge. The disadvantages of manual documentation weigh heavily, because it is extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive. Screenshots have to be taken and edited, texts have to be written and instructions have to be compiled. Who has time for that in a tightly defined time frame?
And if you divide the work among different employees of a company, the probability that the result will be a documentation salad is relatively high – we speak from experience there. Not to mention that you’re pretty sure to make yourself very unpopular with your team if you come around the corner with a huge documentation task….
Document hundreds of processes in the blink of an eye with FlowShare
So how do you document hundreds of processes without blowing timeframes and budgets, making enemies and demanding results? The answer is FlowShare.
FlowShare is a lightweight documentation tool that allows users to record processes as they run them. Many of our customers use the tool to document an ERP project – without exceeding the time frame or budget.
The software runs in the background while a process is running and records each click with a screenshot. This means that documentation is created in parallel with other tasks, such as testing or during training. Documenting thus literally becomes a secondary matter, and yet you still end up with professional documentation.
When the recording process is finished, the screenshots are merged into a guide and short descriptive texts are automatically generated. The user can make changes to the texts and markings even afterwards and make sensitive areas unrecognizable.
High compatibility ensures that FlowShare can be used in any application – whether desktop or web-based. The various export formats ensure that the instructions can be easily shared. Moreover, FlowShare is installed locally, which means that data is always safe with the user.
FlowShares advantages at a glance
Documenting doesn’t have to be too challenging if you have the right tool. Various features of FlowShare allow you to document smoothly during the ERP project.
- High compatibility: FlowShare is compatible with all desktop and browser applications and even with SAP GUI
- Good user experience: FlowShare has a small but powerful set of features. This allows users to start working right away instead of having to spend hours getting familiar with the tool before they can even get started.
- Easy and efficient editing: With FlowShare, all screenshots can be edited at once, making the editing process simple and effective. For example, the Bulk Crop feature allows you to crop all screenshots in the documentation with just a few clicks.
- Protecting sensitive data: Documenting internal processes often has the side effect of documenting sensitive data. To ensure the highest level of data protection even within companies, FlowShare’s Bulk Blur feature renders sensitive data unrecognizable. The tool automatically detects the blurred content on all screenshots and allows the user to blur the same content throughout the documentation with one click.
- Customizable design: FlowShare allows users to customize design settings to create guides according to their corporate design – including colors, background, logo and even customized arrows. These are then adopted uniformly throughout the manual.
- Local installation, operation and storage of data: FlowShare is highly compliant with strict data protection guidelines. From the initial installation to the final export of the documentation, everything is done locally. No data is stored in the cloud, but the data remains on the device where FlowShare is installed.
If you want to try FlowShare without any obligation, you can do so with the free trial version. Thus, you can create an unlimited number of tutorials for free for 14 days. See for yourself how effortlessly an entire ERP project can be documented and download the free trial version!
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