Big Bang Theory

Implementing ERP is difficult enough when the scope of the installation is modest, so it’s not surprising that the ‘Big Bang’ approach – implementing several modules simultaneously – is not for the faint of heart.

Aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada of Longueuil, Quebec is an excellent example of a Canadian firm that has successfully undertaken a ‘Big Bang’ approach. Not only did the firm survive its introduction of several SAP 3.1H modules in 1999, it has also become a model for the implementation and execution of such projects. In both the initial ‘Big Bang’ implementation and the upgrade to SAP 4.6 – the first company in the world to make this conversion – the business was up and fully running without any significant issues within hours of the cutover.

This article offers valuable lessons and insights for IT executives undertaking similar projects. It takes a look at how Pratt & Whitney Canada overcame the substantial challenges posed by ‘Big Bang’ ERP and, with the successful implementation of ERP as its foundation, how the aerospace firm is moving forward to implement its Digital Enterprise vision.

Getting Started

CIO Amal Girgis has been involved in Pratt & Whitney Canada’s ERP activities since their inception. When she transferred from the firm’s Engineering organization in 1995 to become Director, Information Technology, she found herself looking at ERP software options the following year.

From the beginning, the project had strong roots in the business group. The fervent backers of ERP were former Vice President, Finance, Reginald Steers, and former Vice President, Operations, Louis Ch

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