The landscape of the ERP market has changed drastically with many new solutions appearing each year. How long have you been in the ERP industry? Wait, don’t even tell me. Chances are you have already surfed the net far and wide for some best ERP software and know all too well about this kind of stuff. However, relatively little attention has been devoted nowadays to documentation within an ERP project. One of our previous blog posts discusses the role of ERP documentation and provides 6 documentation best practices you’d better follow to save yourself from common ERP implementation failures. And today’s article will disclose top powerful ERP software for ERP project documentation that are worthy of your consideration.

Discover Best ERP Software for Writing Documentation Easily

We have conducted a research and analyzed more than 500 surveys from 20 countries in Africa. This survey took us a few weeks to complete. The aim was to ask subject matter experts to share their experience with ERP project documentation. We used LinkedIn as our major source of communication. And the main question we asked was about the best ERP software they tend to use for the documentation of an ERP project. We realized that it would be tempting for you to get to know what solutions your colleagues utilize for writing ERP documentation. Scroll down to discover our findings and download our latest report to save the userful information.

 

ERP Software to Gather Project Requirements

Honestly speaking, the majority believe that operational procedures and training materials are to be developed at the very last stage of an ERP project. And it is a major misconception which many teams have about ERP project documentation. In fact, at every stage of ERP implementation there are processes that need to be documented. At the project preparation stage, business processes should be reviewed and project requirements are to be properly collected. We have discovered that ERP specialists are mostly using Microsoft Solutions (84%) (MS Word, MS Excel, MS Visio, MS Project, etc.) to document their project requirements. Despite the omnipresence of the Internet and the availability of Google Services that have pretty much the same toolset, only 3% of our interviewees use Google Services. It can be explained by the fact that ERP specialists in Africa prefer to store their project requirements offline. In the survey, we didn’t encounter any response that includes Office 365, a solution that can be used online. Presumably, due to the huge cost of SAP Solutions, most of the respondents use less expensive tools such as Microsoft Solutions (3%), MindManager (3%), etc. Even the biggest MS Office package costs much less than SAP Enable Now. Finally, in some companies, subject matter experts prefer personal communication. 4% of our respondents reported that they prefer to discuss project requirements during meetings and interviews.

 

 ERP Software for Project Implementation

Once your business processes are set in place and documented, the implementation phase comes into play. We asked a bunch of experts about their preferences for the ERP software for documentation at the project implementation stage. It appears that Microsoft Solutions are at the top of the list (34%). More than 30% of the interviewed ERP specialists use different solutions such as MS Visual Studio, MS Office, and Smartsheet. They are used by all ERP specialists mostly because of its availability in terms of finance and in terms of the time it takes for people to master them. However, we admit the popularity of different SAP Solutions in this region that provide a variety of opportunities for their users depending on their role. For example, for developers, it would be SAP Web IDE, and for ERP consultants, it would be SAP Business Suite, etc.

 

 ERP Software for Validation & Testing

Thorough testing on the data and processes is essential. The documentation should be modified based on training/testing results and comments. It is also recommended to add a section or incorporate “most common errors” or “common questions” into the documentation and steps to address those concerns. The vast majority of ERP specialists interviewed prefer to use Excel checklists (65%) instead of, for example, SAP Solution Manager (15%) and different task trackers such as Jira, Issue Tracker, etc. (20%). Generally speaking, we may single out two main categories of tools—task trackers and checklists—plus one of the most sophisticated tools on the market, SAP Solution Manager. Excel is widely used by may ERP consultants. Our respondents use it for testing scenarios so they can double check whether all the tested items are done. SAP users name the proper test environment feature as one of the key reasons why they prefer it to other tools. Another possibility that is provided with this tool is that a user has enough time to navigate through the system. Tracker tools such as Jira and Issue Tracker are popular in smaller teams of 20-30 members.

 

 ERP Software for Creating Onboarding Documentation

Without extensive training, your ERP implementation may go down the drain. Training and onboarding documentation should go hand in hand. When it comes to documentation of final outputs, more than half of the interviewed ERP specialists choose different Microsoft Solutions such as MS Word and PowerPoint (almost 70% of all answers). The second most frequent choice among ERP specialists is different SAP Solutions such as SAP Solutions Manager, SAP System, SAP Business, SAP ABAP, SAP Web IDE, and SAP FIORI. As for the output formats, static text documents (PDF and Doc formats) prevail, as more than 65% of the respondents reported to use them.

According to the survey results, there are the top 5 things that are important to ERP specialists when creating documentation:

  • Screen capturing, image annotations, and video steps
  • Simplicity and a user-friendly interface
  • Timesaving tools with PDF or Word exporting
  • Offline access, powerpoint templates, or integration
  • Logical structuring of a document, editing options, and simulations

 

 Summing Up

Not only does ERP project documentation ensure that existing processes and new tasks are reviewed and standardised, but it also helps a team with testing and post go-live support. With writing documentation gradually as a project rolls up, you may expect your ERP implementation to be successful. Regarding the ERP software for documentation, there exists the overall domination of Microsoft Solutions on the market. Whether it’s content creation or testing the implemented solutions, different Microsoft tools still remain the most popular in the African region. Due to its accessibility and affordable price, Microsoft Solutions is more widely spread than SAP Solutions which usually have a steep learning curve and are way too expensive.

 

I use different tools throughout project implementation. During the preparation phase, I use MS Powerpoint and X-Mind Software for making simple Mind Maps and use it on my presentations and Demos. During the blueprint phase, I use MS Word for MOMs, MS Visio, and MS Powerpoint. During the realization phase, I use MS Word to document my configuration, and Windows Sticky Notes. During the final preparation, I use MS Word, Light Shoot for screenshots, Adobe for creating training manuals, and MS Excel for collecting and uploading master data sheets. In the go-live phase, I use MS Word and Excel to keep track  of my progress and document errors that happen during that phase.”

Ahmed Ali

SAP SD/LE/DSD Consultant at EOH SAP Middle East

 

If this article got your attention, check out our report on an ERP consultant’s toolkit and unlock for yourself the whole list of insights we gathered.