Quest had the chance to speak with Gina Stickland, the Chief Process and Innovation Officer from Miller Zell about the company’s move from JD Edwards World to EnterpriseOne in roughly 10 months.
- The heavy burden of high annual maintenance fees pushed Miller Zell to leave JD Edwards World after 18 years.
- Building enthusiasm around the project and not making it an IT-only project was a game changer for Miller Zell.
- Miller Zell was able to complete their project on time and $300,000 under budget!
About Miller Zell
Miller Zell is a full-service retail experience company that specializes in integrated store development. They provide clients with services for strategy, branding, design, implementation and more. Some of their clients include large retailers, banks, grocery store chains, and pharmacy chains. The company’s headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia.
Miller Zell went live on JD Edwards World in January 1999. They were using Foundation, Financials, Fixed Assets, Job Cost, Distribution and some Manufacturing. After 18 years, they decided to make the move to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.
How did you come to the decision to move to EnterpriseOne?
Over the 18 years we used World, we piled up 13 add-on packages and 450 customizations just to keep World running. That caused our annual maintenance costs to regularly increase. This growing expense eventually reached a point where we knew we needed to make a change. We started looking for new options in 2015.
We also were going through a culture change within our company. We knew we wanted to introduce innovative technology so we could operate faster, cheaper and better while becoming more customer focused.
What made you choose EnterpriseOne over other options?
We narrowed it down to two options. In the end, the user interface of 9.2 with EnterpriseOne won over the users who watched the presentations. That was the main reason behind our decision. We also liked the flexibility of it. The choice might have been different if we were looking at 9.0 compared to 9.2 because the changes to the user interface with 9.2 impressed people.
How much data did you have?
A lot. We archive seven years of data. Our initial conversion with that much data took several weeks. After we deleted a year’s worth of data, our next conversion took around 11 days, which we knew was still too long for a go-live. After talking with the team, we decided to archive all but two years of data. We figured we could restore it after go-live was over, if necessary. About a month after go-live, the team decided that we didn’t need to restore it, so we never did.
What was the implementation process like for Miller Zell?
We wanted this project to be different from those in the past. Our associates typically thought of them as IT-only projects, and we didn’t want that to be the attitude this time. We created a team of super users from different departments who could help take ownership of the project and be a part of testing and training. We wanted it to be a company-wide effort.
While we were working on the project, we stationed digital monitors around the office that showed how many days were left until go-live, what phase we were in and what percentage of the entire project was complete. It kept people engaged throughout the whole process. We completed the project in roughly 10 months. We finished on time and approximately $300,000 under budget.
Our communication team also did a great job rallying people behind this project. They came up with a baseball theme and put together fun activities to get everyone involved. Everyone got a baseball jersey with the number 18 on the back to symbolize our 2018 go-live date. We also had a barbeque tailgate in our parking lot with hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy to go with the theme. Then, as a reward after our go-live, we all went to an Atlanta Braves baseball game together to celebrate. This made it fun for everyone and kept the whole company involved.
What are some of the benefits that you’ve noticed after making the transition?
It definitely saved us a lot of money. We reduced our maintenance costs and the amount of equipment we have. Those are significant benefits. It also increased efficiency for users. They now can perform tasks like arrange grids in whichever way works best for them, export or import and much more.
What advice do you have for other customers making a similar transition?
- Do your research. Learn as much as you can and know what you can accomplish during your timeline. Move what’s not immediately needed into a Phase 2 project.
- Document your business processes. If you haven’t done this, don’t even start your project.
- Purge your data. When you think you’ve gotten rid of enough, purge again.
- Go through multiple data conversions and analyze the results after each to find where you can improve.
- Allow plenty of time to write test scripts and perform testing.
What’s next for Miller Zell?
We already have started Phase 2 and we are hoping to complete it by the end of the year. We still have things we want to do that we thought would be too much during a go-live on such a risky project. We want to implement new features like mobile apps and Café One, so we’re working toward making that happen soon.
Would you like to share your own story with the Quest community? Contact us and Quest staff will get in touch!