Succeeding through ERP implementation / implementation methods - classic vs agile
5 Aug

SUCCESSFUL THROUGH THE ERP implementation / implementation methods - classic vs agile

Anyone planning to introduce ERP software in a medium-sized company can choose between different strategies: the agile or the classic approach of the ERP implementation.

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Classical approach

The classic process model has a clearly regulated chronological sequence. The individual phases of the introduction run in a linear fashion and allow at most a return to the previous phase. Well-known classic implementation strategies are, for example, the 'on-target' process model or the 'ASAP' process model developed for SAP integrations. procedure model or the 'ASAP' ('Accelerated SAP') model developed for SAP integrations. (?AcceleratedSAP?) process model developed for SAP integrations.

Example of a ?classic? ERP implementation:

  1. Planning and preparation of the introduction
  2. Analysis phase: evaluation of the current situation and implementation concept of the target state
  3. Adaptation of the ERP software and complete implementation of all individual extensions
  4. Changeover to the new ERP system

Depending on the scope of the introduction, each of these phases contains a large number of tasks as well as risks. What is essential for the classical approach, however, is that the phases and their results follow one another in time and are thus mutually conditional.


The simple, comprehensible structure of the introduction and (initially) clear plannability of the individual phases is advantageous.


However, the possibility of precise planning of the phases quickly becomes a disadvantage of the classical approach. Because already at the beginning of the introduction it must be determined which adjustments and individual implementations are necessary for the changeover.

Particularly in the case of introductions in medium-sized companies, it is usually only during the implementation phase (i.e. phase 3 - 4 in the example) that it is recognised which implementation would actually be the best. The optimisation potential through the ERP software is only discovered late and it thus only then becomes clear what the finished system might look like.

Agile approach

Due to the difficulties with the inflexibility of the classical approach, a more flexible model has prevailed, especially in smaller and medium-sized companies. To avoid the risks of a completely unstructured model, so-called agile procedures have been developed. The best known are ?SCRUM? from the Scrum Alliance or the ?Rational Unified Process? from IBM. These agile Process models have structured concepts for flexibly achieving the goal (the finished ERP system).
This flexibility is achieved by dividing the analysis, adaptation and conversion into several small phases. At the end of each phase, it is also tested whether what is planned makes sense for the final goal (the ERP system). In this way, the software or the business processes are improved with each phase.

Process example of an ?agile? ERP implementation:

  1.  Planning and preparation of the introduction
  2. Analysis phase: rough evaluation of the current situation and implementation concept of the target state
  3.  Planning the individual phases and their rough contents
  4.  Rough plan of the target ERP
  5. Phase 1 (ALWAYS partial consideration of the ERP):
    • Analysis of the actual situation
    • Target concept of the target system part
    • Test conversion to the new system
    • Analysis of user feedback
  6.  Phase 2 (further system part) and all further phases
    (like phase 1)
  7. Final changeover to the new ERP system


Nevertheless, the phases and the ERP implementation can only be roughly planned. Therefore, this approach also harbours risks such as a chaotic approach and difficulty in planning the results.


Since a simply unplanned approach simply ends in chaos, the agile approach wants to define a clear but flexible process. The model includes, for example, the focus of the individual phases, the roles of the participants and the intermediate results. In this way, the process remains structured on the one hand, but is also flexibly adaptable and plannable on the other hand in order to achieve the optimum of an ERP system.

A comparison of the approaches

The classic and agile approaches differ above all in the project process. One tries opposing methods, but achieves a similar result.

Comparing the two approaches, it becomes clear that the classic model is only suitable if all parties involved can create a clear picture of the target ERP. In addition, the phases of the introduction must not become too complex. The more complicated the individual adaptations and adjustments are in the phases, the more Implementations the more the optimal ERP solution will only emerge in the implementation process. In this case, the agile approach is the better option.

Especially if individual departments are to be converted separately or individual software parts are to be put into operation individually, the agile approach should always be used for a Introduction project be elected.

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