Why you should document the setup of your ERP system

An ERP implementation always involves two teams, the customer and the supplier. In this collaboration you run the risk that not all activities or things agreed upon are communicated with each other and registered. This is also the case for the system setup. While it is, for now and in the future, extremely important to document the ERP settings and to give the involved people access to this documentation (regardless of the question who is allowed to change the settings).

Different types of settings

In the settings of an ERP system we distinguish different types:

-   Fixed settings: These settings must be the same for each customer in order for the system to operate properly. Both parties need to be aware of which settings are fixed and that these cannot be changed.

-   Default settings: ERP vendors often focus on a specific industry, thus know the processes of organizations in this industry and adjust the settings in the system accordingly. Often it is possible to change these default settings, but it is wise to only do so after consulting the ERP supplier, as it may affect the performance of the system.

-   Custom-specific settings: Of course, an ERP system also has settings that can be customized to the customer's wishes. For example, which document is printed for a purchase order. During an implementation, this often happens after consulting the supplier, but afterwards a customer can also customize these settings (preferably first in a test environment) without changing processes.

Documents in the establishment document

By documenting all of the above-mentioned types of settings in a setup document, it will be clear to all people involved which settings can be adjusted and whether that requires consulting the ERP supplier.

The purpose of the setup document varies across the different stages:

-   Before the implementation, the fixed and default settings should already be in the database, something you can check with the setup document.

-   During the implementation, the setup document can be used in meetings between the customer and the supplier. For the default settings, the supplier can explain why these are the way they are and if required, changes can be made. The customer-specific settings are also discussed and set according to the customer's wishes.

-   After the implementation, the setup document can be used as a transfer document, both for the customer as for the support department of the supplier. The system has been transferred to the customer who signs that the settings at the time of delivery are as discussed during the implementation.

Log changes

You might want to turn on logging on the tables with settings, so that you can always check which settings have been changed, who did this and when he/she did this. Whenever a problem with the ERP system occurs caused by a change in the setup that was not allowed, you can take measures to make sure this does not happen again.

Luuk Busschers is Consultant at Dysel and helps customers to achieve their goals by using industry-specific ERP software.