• United States
Executive Editor

ViewSonic: Training, communication key to ERP consolidation

Apr 28, 20032 mins
Data CenterERP Systems

One of the first things Robert Moon did when he started the process of consolidating ViewSonic’s three ERP instances was to cut the IT staff responsible for maintaining the Oracle software from 36 to 14 employees.

The Oracle-focused IT staff had grown bloated in part because end users didn’t know how to use the software – so they didn’t try, opting for familiar Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and relying on IT staff to get their data into the Oracle systems, says Moon, vice president of information service at the Walnut, Calif. company. “The reason we had so many people in the IT organization for our Oracle software was that IT people were doing the job of the end users,” he says.

For ViewSonic’s ERP re-implementation, Moon insisted on comprehensive Oracle training for all employees. In particular, he pushed senior staff – including the company’s controller and the heads of departments such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and order management – to take between two and six weeks of classes through Oracle University. “The top one or two people in each of the departments that uses Oracle went to classes,” Moon says.

These “super users” in turn participated in the software rollouts. “When we did the actual implementation, we used those managers to do the setups,” Moon says. The super users not only helped execute the U.S. region’s migration to the new Oracle software, but also played a role in overseas implementations. Many traveled to London, Shanghai and Taiwan to assisted in regional pilots and rollouts, Moon says.

Executive buy-in was key to the project’s success, Moon says. ViewSonic’s CEO and senior executives supported Moon’s training initiatives and encouraged top department managers to take the time to attend classes. In addition, ViewSonic’s CEO attended at least half of the weekly ERP project meetings, and the company’s chief financial officer attended every meeting.

Communication also is key, Moon says. “When you do these globalizations, you have to include everyone,” he says. During the U.S. software re-implementation, representatives from the company’s offices in Europe and Asia took part in weekly conference calls. “They participated, and we updated them on how we were doing and what was going on,” Moon says. “I wanted to make sure they were in agreement with what we were doing.”