Gradient assist Viking River Cruises with their ERP Selection Project

Viking River Cruises is a market leading river cruise operator, boasting a fleet of 37 vessels with plans of doubling that figure over the next few years.  Due in part to that phenomenal growth the decision was made to undergo an ERP system selection project to find a solution that could cater for their unique set of requirements.

 Viking River Cruises knew that they would require specialist assistance to give them the best chance of a successful project.  After selecting an application originally designed for ocean cruises, Gradient Consulting was chosen to help define VRC’s specific requirements and guide Viking River Cruises team through the process.

How we helped

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A team from Gradient worked with each of the twelve functional departments at VCR  head office in Basel to understand and document their complex requirements They also mentored the project team on how to conduct structured tests for each module and feed  the results back into the design of the system.

Actions

  • Gradient worked with the VP of Operational Projects and Planning Anders Nielsen, to generate the first phase project plan.
  • The team worked over a six week period to understand the Viking River Cruise business processes and translate them into a set of requirements aimed at providing as much operational information as possible to the system designers.  In some cases these were actually written by the Gradient consultants and verified by the VPs, and in other cases the consultant coached departmental personnel to produce them.
  • The vendor responses were analysed and where appropriate, challenged.
  • Gradient consulting was heavily involved in setting up the user acceptance testing procedures for each module.  Initially creating the test scripts and supporting documentation and overseeing the early sessions.
  • The Gradient team was tasked with facilitating discovery meetings with vendors of supporting software, such as the HR and Payroll system, and the ERP vendor.  These were aimed at defining the interface “touch” points between the systems.

Benefits

  • With so little choice in a very niche market, in terms of ERP functionality, it was important to identify exactly what was required and whether the selected system could cope.  By undergoing the above process a number of issues were highlighted and were being dealt with.
  • There has been a significant amount of knowledge transfer to the project team, particularly in areas such as the user acceptance testing process as well as widening the visibility of the functional operational detail in some areas and creating awareness of potential areas of focus in others such as Supply Chain.
  • The 12 functional requirement documents now form the backbone of the scope between Viking River Cruises and the vendor.