The School of Dan – Software Systems
Software Setup is like a Pyramid…
Remember how the ancients built the pyramids? They built from the bottom up with the base being the strongest level. Software setup is done the same way. You build the system from the ground up. You setup a software system using tiers and the entire pyramid becomes your foundation for success.
In any software implementation—whether that be just one module or an entire platform install—stay true to the foundation. Just as the walls in a home will fail if the foundation is weak, so will the day-to-day business activities if the software infrastructure lacks integrity.
I’ve developed and implemented many software systems and our 5-TIER process never fails.
The following outline considers a pyramid model where the base (the largest portion) is Tier 1 and the apex is Tier 5. This works you from the bottom up. The same model can be illustrated in a reverse pyramid with Tier 1 being the top of the pyramid, working you from the top down. In fact, you can remove the pyramid model altogether and use an Org chart as your model. Regardless of the model, these 5 Tiers are the foundation for successful implementations.
TIER 1 – the RULES. This becomes the major part of your foundation. Here you’ll develop the system rules. This information usually remains STATIC in that once you set the values, rarely are they updated. For example, flags are set that identify which modules you’ll be using such as A/P, inventory management, and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). You’ll set up the company record and other related rules such as default terms for your company.
Tier 2 – the TABLES, which also remain STATIC most of the time. These values would be sales staff names, credit codes, terms codes, user logins, and many other like values.
Tier 3 – the MASTER FILES, which will act primarily in a STATIC mode, but will have some DYNAMIC information such as YTD sales. There are also times when updates will be made such as a company will change the customer terms codes with the intention of overriding the company-wide terms codes set in the tables in Tier 2.
Tier 4 – the TRANSACTION FILES. For new system installs, this information is usually imported from some database such as Excel. These would usually be large files of current information and be related to information such as open purchase orders, quotes, and open sales orders. These values are DYNAMIC in that they will change every day.
Tier 5 – the ARCHIVES. Ah…you’ve arrived at the top of the pyramid. Like Tier 4, for new system installs, this information is usually imported from some database such as Excel. These would usually be large files of information such as sales history, receiving history, and receivables history. They are DYNAMIC TRANSACTION FILES, as new information can be recorded in the files daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. However, unlike the Tier 4 files, the values in these archive records do not change, as this is historical data.
Rest assured that the majority of failed system installs are related to the lack of attention in the 5 Tiers.
Along those lines…
Gordon B. Hincley said…
“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.”
I rest my case.
The “School of Dan.”