Gradient assist Viking River Cruises with their ERP Selection Project

The Client

Viking River Cruises is a market leading river cruise operator. It boasts 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. There was a need to find a solution that could cater for their unique set of requirements.

The Problem

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.

The Solution

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


  • Gradient worked with the VP of Operational Projects and Planning Anders Nielsen, to generate the first phase project plan.
  • The team worked over six weeks to understand the Viking River Cruise business processes. The task was then to translate them into a set of requirements aimed at providing as much operational information as possible to the system designers. In some cases, Gradient consultants wrote them, and VPs verified them. In other instances, the consultant coached departmental personnel to produce them.
  • The vendor responses were studied and where appropriate, challenged.
  • Gradient Consulting had heavy involvement 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 teams task was to facilitate discovery meetings with vendors of supporting software, such as the HR and Payroll system, and the ERP vendor. The aim was to define the interface “touch” points between the systems.


  • Firstly, 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. Undergoing the above process highlighted a number of issues to be dealt with.
  • Secondly, there has been a significant amount of knowledge transfer to the project team. More importantly in areas such as the user acceptance testing process. Also widening the visibility of the functional operational detail in some areas, furthermore creating awareness of potential areas of focus in others such as Supply Chain.
  • Thirdly, the 12 functional requirement documents now form the backbone of the scope between Viking River Cruises and the vendor.

What the Client Says

“We needed to rapidly develop detailed specifications. Gradient Consulting was a tremendous help to us in defining the requirements. Their combination of solid methodology and flexible project management allowed them to deliver a superior result within a short timeframe. Their project manager was an invaluable asset to our project.”

Anders Neilson, VP Operations/Projects