Millennium Consulting to celebrate 25th anniversary in 2020

Millennium Consulting to celebrate 25th anniversary in 2020

January 8th, 2020

This year Millennium Consulting will celebrate 25 years supporting clients with Finance Transformation and Regulatory Change initiatives. Having started in 1995 as a specialist SunSystems software consultancy the company soon recognised the wider challenges of Y2K and was engaged by clients to transition them to YTK compliant software.

Since the company’s inception CEO, Philip Keet, has continued to evolve its service and technology offerings and now Millennium provides digital, cloud transformation and recruitment consultancy services for clients worldwide; key customers have included some of the biggest brands in insurance, banking, retail, enterprise technology, and consumer experience.

“I am proud to announce 2020 as the company’s twenty-fifth anniversary of doing business, this is an exciting year for us! I’d like to thank our clients and our global team of talented individuals, all of whom have played a key role in Millennium reaching this exciting milestone. I am looking forward to celebrating with you all in the upcoming year”.
Philip Keet, Millennium Consulting CEO.

Celebrations are planned throughout the year to mark this significant anniversary including a summer birthday party and a commemorative photo book, as well as a series of special features, interviews, and social media content.


Selecting and successfully implementing ERP software

Selecting and successfully implementing ERP software

January 3rd, 2020

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has progressed a long way in recent years with digital, cloud and artificial intelligence solutions entering the market and competing with traditional on-premise offerings. Emerging technologies together with corporate growth have fuelled demand for ERP solutions that automate business processes leading to reduced headcount and supporting corporate growth. The appeal of shared services, requirements of enhanced management information and post M&A corporate restructuring are also amongst the reasons why organisations decide to implement new ERP platforms.

Project Sponsor

Introducing new ERP is a considerable challenge requiring strong, effective project sponsorship from either the CFO, CTO or another member of senior management. The sponsor will provide the link between the delivery team and the Board of Directors and will oversee project governance. They will need the authority to promote change, ensure the delivery team has the resources needed and that the necessary controls are in place which will guarantee the project is successfully delivered within the planned timescales and budget.

Large change programs are likely to encounter resistance and a key role of the sponsor is to secure buy-in and support from the impacted parts of the organisation. Strong influencing skills are needed as even with the best business case, resistance to change can risk project failure. The sponsor supports the project manager overcoming political and resourcing challenges, provide high level backing, communicates project closure and the results to the wider organisation. They will also act as an escalation route if needed and arbitrate/resolve any areas of disagreement.

The Project Team

Project teams is typically a mix of software vendor consultants, third party systems integrators and internal personnel. The software vendor will provide in-depth software applications expertise whilst the systems integrator will focus on wider change management issues, new business processes and interfacing with third-party applications. The internal project team will be familiar with the organisation and the legacy business processes and will be able to contribute from an operational/ business perspective.

Software Selection

Having agreed upon the need for a new ERP platform, sufficient time should be given to specifying and selecting the most appropriate software product. In most cases external support will be needed as internal staff are unlikely to have the necessary experience and time available and may not objectively view the available options.

Initially a period of analysis and requirements gathering is needed leading to the production of the Request for Proposal (RFP). A list of potential vendors with products meeting business specifications will be sent the RFP and a short list chosen and vendors requested to demonstrate their products. A proof of concept (POC) may take place to evaluate the software under realistic conditions with authentic dummy data.

Vendors should be assessed not only on the suitability of their software but also on their long-term product road map, financial strength and future viability. Selecting the wrong product can be costly particularly if the vendor is acquired by a third party and their software deemed surplus to requirements and decommissioned.

The cost of implementing new ERP will include new computer hardware, software licences, external consulting fees and time devoted to the project by the internal team.

Existing hardware may be retained but may not have sufficient processing power to operate the new software. Overall implementation costs can be as much as 5 times the software licence fees depending upon configuration and hardware required. Other costs to consider include the effects of disrupting existing business processes and reduced management information whilst the deployment is in progress.

Project Management

Effective project management is essential to determine the scope, quality, budget and timing of the program and may involve the use of Prince, Agile or Waterfall project methodologies. Software vendors and consultancies may prefer their own internally developed project management methodology which will incorporate resource planning and milestone definition to ensure deadlines are achieved and bottle necks avoided.

Target Operating Model

The new ERP solution will be developed in line with a new Target Operating Model (TOM) and a prototype built and tested before the final design is agreed. It is essential that finance employees are involved with the systems design as their buy-in and involvement will contribute to the ultimate success of the project. The system can be built adopting either a standard out of the box approach or with customisation although this will depend upon the complexity of the business requirements and the amount of flexibility needed. Extensive customisation can lead to additional implementation costs and may provide challenges with long term support and future upgrade. User training is needed to ensure the operational knowledge is in place so the system operates effectively. Following the system build process, User Acceptance Training (UAT) and user training will be needed. Once the design is agreed and finalised then data conversion and migration will take place.

A parallel run with the old system may be performed however this can be costly and a Big Bang approach may be preferred in the interests of cost saving. Following “Go live”, support will be needed and a post “Go-live” review carried out to ensure users operate the system correctly and any outstanding performance issues are resolved.

Conclusion

The challenge and likely cost of implementing a new ERP platform should not be underestimated. Successful delivery involves three key areas; People, Processes and Technology. Projects can sometimes focus excessively on technology whilst human aspects of the change program may not be given the attention they deserve. A Change Management strategy and the availability of appropriate skills will help ensure the implementation is accepted and judged a success.

Key issues include; selecting appropriate software; ensuing there is a strong project sponsor and sufficient project governance; engaging delivery focussed project management; ensuring internal staff are fully involved and accept the new system; using the new system to improve business processes rather than simply replicating historic ways of doing things; assembling the most appropriate project team – normally a mix of internal personnel and external consultants and ensuring there is sufficient post go-live support to deal with outstanding issues.

Adopting these strategies will lead to; streamlined business processes; reduced employment cost; enhanced management information; ensuring that the organisation is committed to embracing technology to improve overall corporate performance.

Millennium Consulting has been supporting customers deploy and optimise ERP since the mid 1990’s. This has included selection, architecture, build, deployment, re-engineering and upgrade. Our customers expect the best ERP specialists available and we make it our responsibility to ensure their needs are met. If you would like some guidance on choosing or implementing new ERP software, please call us on +44(0) 845 604 4262 or contact us using our website form.


Millennium Raising Futures Kenya Golf Day

 Millennium Raising Futures Kenya Golf Day

September 13th, 2019

It was a sun-filled September day in Westerham when the Millennium “Raising Futures Kenya” golf day took place. The event was well supported by the payers and special guest, former World Light heavyweight Boxing Champion John Conteh, accompanied by his son James, adding sporting pedigree, physical presence and golfing prowess.

There were prizes aplenty with the European team once more emerging victorious in the Stableford overall team event. Other winners included William Hill – led by Steve Gant – who won the 4 ball Stableford prize.

The individual scratch score prize was won by Joe Jezzard of Osella Technology with a score of 75, closely followed by Colin Stansbury of Avalara with 76.

The longest drive was won by Jono Rawlings of Arthur J Gallagher, with Joe Jezzard also winning the nearest the flag prize.

Following the golf and post round dinner, a short presentation was provided by Andy King, Board of Trustees Chair at Raising Futures Kenya, who shared news from around how the funds raised at the 2018 golf event were put to good use. Tales of children helped and their subsequent journeys brought to life the tangible outcome arising from the funds previously raised. Overall the golf day raised £2,000 on the day, a sum which will be put to good use by the Raising Futures Kenya team.

Millennium Consulting CEO Phil Keet expressed his thanks to the corporate sponsors, including Avalara, Bang and Olufsen and Arbonne International as well as John Conteh and the players who took part. Phil will be visiting Kenya in 2020 to gain first-hand insight into the work being carried out on the ground by Raising Futures Kenya and will provide an update for the players taking part at the 2020 event.

If you are interested in taking part in 2020 then please refer to our events page for information. Rumour has it that the event may be taking place at the illustrious Sunningdale course….


ETL & Rules Engine Technology

ETL & Rules Engine Technology

September 2nd, 2019

With increased numbers of software applications used by today’s organisation there has been a corresponding growth in the number of “Extract, transform and load” (ETL) software companies capable of extracting data from one or more sources and transferring it to a destination system in a different format from the source system. The increased use of corporate data warehouses has driven demand for ever more powerful ETL technologies able to handle large and disparate data volumes.

Well-designed ETL systems extract data from multiple source systems, enforcing data quality and consistency standards, conforming data so separate sources can be combined and finally delivering data in a presentation-ready format so application developers can build applications and end users can make decisions.

Data extraction takes time and therefore the three phases are often performed in parallel. During the data extraction process, another transformation process takes place while processing the data already received and prepares it for loading while the data loading begins without waiting for the completion of the previous phases.

ETL systems commonly integrate data from multiple applications (systems), typically developed and supported by different vendors or hosted on separate computer hardware. The separate systems containing the original data are frequently managed and operated by different employees.

The introduction and configuration of ETL technologies can be complex. Millennium Consulting bridges the gap between software vendors and clients and help to harness the power of Rules Engines, ETL tools and Data Warehouses to store, process and make best use of corporate data.

Millennium Consulting provides Consultancy and Recruitment services relating to leading Rules Engine and ETL technologies such as Aptitude Software, Legerity, Informatica and Ab Initio. Our customers span the globe with specialist expert consultants across North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.