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ERP troubleshooting on the grand scale

Just because an ERP implementation reaches its go-live date and becomes operational does not mean the installation process is over. At the very least, the end users need support, as the new software becomes integral to their day-to-day operations. For all the testing the system has undergone during development, going live is the ultimate test and will throw up some unexpected challenges.

When there are hundreds of users spread over half a continent and the system is handling complex transactions with multiple variants, the scale of the post-implementation challenges can become significant.

This is what happened to a major Infor M3 project that Anthesis has been supporting for the last few years. The client, based in North America, went live in 2011 on Lawson M3 (now Infor M3) Equipment Service Management and Rental (ESM&R), to manage its fleet of thousands of vehicles operating in the oil industry.

But the vast number of post-implementation issues created a demand for ESM&R experts that Anthesis helped to satisfy. We identified and deployed one of Europe’s most experienced consultants who then spent much of the next year working in Canada. His engagement on the project continued until May 2015.

From troubleshooting to problem solving

The early months of work were spent resolving software issues at the transaction level to ensure day-to-day operations could continue, while at the same time learning the configuration of the application and supporting those responsible for training the end users. He was also feeding information into a central control team that was developing and implementing system corrections.

After a few months, the expertise brought to the project by our consultant was recognised and he was moved into the control team. Here he had more input into configuration changes and also created a set of reports using SQL, providing key performance indicators to the business, something they had been lacking since the system went live.

Our consultant took on the challenge of improving the quality of data held in the Infor M3 application, with a project that allowed adjustments to be made on an industrial scale. With 75 warehouses and thousands of locations, the database was enormous and the volume of changes required was beyond the scope of the software’s standard capability. The new processes helped overcome these limitations.

Achieving stability and improving usability

As many of the initial issues were overcome, the post-implementation control team was reduced to around 12 people, including our consultant. One of his final tasks was a major project to interface technical data into Infor M3, with the requirement that it be extremely user-friendly, in order to be accessed by users in the field. Given that this was the oil business in Canada, the field could be a cold, remote facility that demanded robust IT solutions.

By the time the engagement finished in May 2015, our consultant had spent thousands of hours providing trouble shooting and problem solving support for this major Infor M3 implementation. This is another example of how Anthesis was able, through its network of experienced ERP consultants, to identify someone with the appropriate skills and have them working on the client’s site at short notice.