Helping Clients Maximize Fit to Standard for ERP Projects

When a company embarks on software selection for their business, it can be a daunting task. No single solution is a “one size fits all.” During evaluation of ERP systems, a common goal is to find a solution that aligns with 80-85% of existing business processes. The better the alignment, the less customization required, which in turn, results in a more agile and easily upgradeable ERP system. As a former colleague used to advise his clients, “customization is the gift that keeps on taking.” Meaning, it is wise to limit customizations of an ERP system to what is necessary to perform business processes efficiently and effectively.

The Fit to Standard approach assists companies in evaluating how well their organization’s business processes align with predefined system settings, best practices, and functionality in the solution. It helps them implement the core system without heavy customization. In a recent ERP project, Fit to Standard proved to be a very useful tool in the Sikich project methodology toolbelt.

Fit to Standard Approach

Standard processes offer several advantages, including:

  • Less risk during upgrades; customizations can break if new code and architecture is introduced in newer versions
  • Seamless scalability as organizations grow
  • Alignment with industry regulations which helps to mitigate risk and maintain compliance
  • Cost savings; customizations can be expensive to develop and maintain
  • Better integration with other ISVs or technology solutions

Because no two businesses are the same, some level of customization is to be expected and will differ from client to client. During the discovery phase, gaps between the existing processes and the standard functionalities can be assessed. The Fit to Standard analysis will guide organizations in making informed decisions around gaps. As consultants and project managers, we can assist by providing the client with standard solution options.

The Sikich HEADSTART pre-configurations and our team’s best practice guidance will help establish a vision for how their process could work using standard functionality. From there, the project team’s subject matter experts will debate whether existing processes can be adjusted to align with the standard or if a business case can and should be made for a customization.

This methodology keeps the guard rails on customizations by ensuring a controlled process for disposing each gap. The Fit to Standard percentage can be tracked and reported throughout the project life cycle to monitor the fit by simply dividing the “total gaps” by the “total gaps resolved” with standard functionality. Our recent client stated up front that an 80% Fit to Standard was their target and would be considered a “good” result. This percentage data point, along with our established project methodology and HEADSTART pre-configurations for distributors and industrial manufacturers, allowed them to make sound decisions on customization approvals and ultimately resulted in a final Fit to Standard of 87%!

Approach Advantages

There are several other advantages to using the Fit to Standard approach.

  • Helps clients stay focused on the new solution features and benefits and not on their legacy system and “how they’ve always done it.” Change is hard and it is human nature to want to recreate legacy processes.
  • Provides consistent framework for assessing gaps and the need for customization. The client Project Manager and Steering Committee can use the fit percentage as a data point during the customization review and approval process.
  • Can potentially accelerate project delivery by weeding out unnecessary customizations.

The Fit to Standard approach aims to strike a balance between leveraging standard system functionality and tailoring the solution to meet specific business requirements. As partners to our clients, our goal is to help them attain a successful, operationally sufficient project launch while minimizing unnecessary and costly customization. Contact us to see how you could benefit from the Fit to Standard approach with your ERP initiative.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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