What is Quality Assurance and Why is it Important for your ERP Transformation?

Written By: Brian Potts
Date: February 9, 2021

When suggesting the idea of Quality Assurance (QA) to a company going through a digital transformation, we usually get one of three responses:

  1. We don’t need it because we have everything under control
  2. Our vendor is providing their own QA
  3. Ok, what is QA?

The last one, fair enough, and happy to educate. For the first two responses, however, it usually is not a good approach to simply tell senior leadership that they do not know what they are talking about. What often works better is sharing stories and analogies and letting them eventually come to their own realization on why they may want to consider QA for their implementation.

Following are a few of my favorite QA analogies, hope one or two of these hits home:

Financial Audits: You have a top-notch accounting staff and a trusty financial management system, so why would you need auditing if financial processes are clean? The answer is simple, in that one error can cost significantly more to fix than catching it ahead of time. It is also a means for identifying a “bad egg” or cases of embezzlement, misallocation of funds, etc. The same goes with an ERP implementation, finding an issue before it causes disaster is well worth the cost and effort.

Vaccines: Certainly a hot topic in today’s day and age, the value of vaccines varies greatly across different groups. In getting a vaccine you are not fixing an existing illness, simply helping to prevent one that may or may not present itself. Some see this as wasted effort, while the majority of doctors and health systems believe that vaccines if used widely enough, can prevent future pandemics. ERP quality assurance can be viewed the same way. There is not a problem yet, but preventing the disasters of mismanaging an ERP implementation through QA can keep a company from enduring pandemic-levels of business risk and disruption.

Police: Ok, another hot topic here. If there were no troublemakers there would be no need for the police force, but there are. Same with ERP implementations. Problems and unforeseen tragedies do strike, and it is best to be prepared. A trained quality assurance team could be viewed as the “police” of an ERP implementation. Patrolling the implementation tasks and resources, and only taking action when necessary. When they do step in, they can help protect your company’s data, people, and infrastructure.

Grade School: Not the school itself, but for us as parents, provide quality assurance over our kids’ education. The school does the teaching (i.e., implementation), however, parents get constant feedback through report cards, parent-teacher conferences, newsletters, helping with homework, etc. We are also able to step in and coordinate the use of tutors (BPM), counselors (OCM), and even ACT prep courses (custom training) when we feel more support is needed or something is off course.

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There are hundreds of similar examples, and the concept of QA should be relatable to almost any process. In the government space, QA has often been referred to as Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V). The value of third-party justification, verification, validation, and assurance will provide the confidence needed to succeed through your digital transformation. Have a question about quality assurance or any other feedback? Please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Brian Potts

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