As promised, here is yet another detailed analysis for AIM's.
Big -5 Implemenation consulting companies uses AIM (Application Implementation Methodology) to manage all of its Oracle Application projects. AIM can also be used for other different software implementations and does not limited to only Oracle Applications. However, the methodology was/is purposely built for Oracle Applications and the detailed deliverables produced are designed with the Oracle Application products in mind, as these are initially used for oracle consulting guys, and with time these are adopted methodology in Oracle application across the industry.
The following Oracle Applications Areas are covered by AIM:
- Oracle Financials
- Oracle Distribution
- Oracle Human Resources
- Oracle Manufacturing
- Oracle Projects
- Oracle Process Manufacturing
- Business Intelligence
AIM incorporates two things. First, it is a methodology showing what tasks are required, what order they should be completed in, and what resources are required . Secondly,it provides deliverable templates for all the tasks that require them. Hence the hybrid of methodology with a deliverable template tool makes AIM a powerful product.
One biggest disadvantage of AIM methodology is that is very complicated. Complicated in the sense it has ample number of deliverables which are more than 225 in number. In other word , the project time frame can be makes direct impact on this methodology , i mean to say if you tried to use them all you would be spending atleast 9-12 months implementing a 3 month project. AIM is supposed to be used by experienced project managers that pick and choose the tasks they require for each project.Most of Consulting company have fine tuned and took tailored approach for AIM's methodology, based of there standard implementation practice.
AIM defines business needs at the beginning of the project and maintains their visibility throughout the implementation. It defines internal, external, and time sensitive business events and maps each event to the responding business and system processes. Using this method, the client gains an accurate understanding of the business requirements that need to be focused on during the course of the implementation.
AIM Structure Framework
AIM is a framework of related elements. It involves phases, processes, tasks and dependencies:
- A task is a unit of work, which results in a single deliverable. That deliverable may take many different forms like reports, schedules, code, or test results for example.
- A process is a closely related group of dependent tasks, which meets a major objective. A process is usually based on a common discipline.
- A phase is a chronological grouping of tasks. It enables a flexible way to organize tasks, schedule major deliverables, and deliver projects.
Processes and phases are explained in more detail below.
A process in AIM represents a related set of objectives, resource skill requirements, inputs, and deliverable outputs. A task can belong to only one process. Project team members are usually assigned to a process according to their specialization and background. A brief description of the AIM processes are given below:
1. Business Requirements Definition: Business Requirements Definition defines the business needs that must be met by the implementation project. You document business processes by identifying business events and describing the steps that respond to these events.
2. Business Requirements Mapping: Business Requirements Mapping compares the business requirements to standard application software functionality and identifies gaps that must be addressed to fully meet business needs. As gaps between requirements and functionality emerge, they are resolved by documenting workarounds, alternative solutions, application extensions, or by changing the underlying business process.
3. Application and Technical Architecture: During the Application and Technical Architecture you design an information systems architecture that reflects your business vision. Using the business and information systems requirements, this process facilitates development of a plan for deploying and configuring the hardware required for a successful implementation.
4. Module Design and Build: Module Design and Build produces custom software solutions to gaps in functionality identified during Business Requirements Mapping. Custom software solutions include program modules that must be designed, built, and tested before they can be incorporated into the system.
5. Data Conversion : Data Conversion defines the tasks and deliverables required to convert legacy data to the Oracle Applications tables. The first step of this process explicitly defines the business objects that are required for conversion and the legacy source systems that store these objects. The converted data may be needed for system testing, training, and acceptance testing as well as for production.
6. Documentation :Documentation begins with materials created early in the project. Using detailed documents from the project, the writing staff develops user and technical material that are tailored to the implementation.
7. Business System Testing: Business System Testing focuses on linking test requirements back to business requirements and securing project resources needed for testing. It supports utilizing common test information including data profiles to promote testing co-ordination and to minimize duplication of test preparation and execution effort.
8. Performance Testing:Performance Testing enables you to define, build, and execute a performance test. Use the results to make decisions on whether the performance is acceptable for the business and to help propose tactical or strategic changes to address the performance quality shortfall. Performance Testing is closely related to Application and Technical Architecture; they are interdependent.
9. User Training:Training prepares both users and administrators to assume on the tasks of running the new application system. It includes development of materials and methods as well as administration. Instructors and courseware developers orient their material toward roles and jobs, and not toward application modules.
10.Production Migration : Production Migration moves the company, system, and people to the new enterprise system. Following production cutover, it monitors and refines the production system and plans for the future. The Production Migration process encompasses transition to production readiness, production cutover, and post-production support
The Process can easily understood by this diagram against Phases discussed below.
An AIM project is conducted in phases that provide quality and control checkpoints to co-ordinate project activities that have a common goal. During a project phase, your project team will be executing tasks from several processes. A brief description of the AIM processes are given below:
1. Definition: This consist of review the organization's business objectives, evaluate the feasibility of meeting those objectives under time, resource, and budget constraints. Moreover this can be best consider as SOW(statement of work) preparation phase.
2. Operations Analysis:During Operations Analysis, the project team develops Business Requirements Scenarios based on deliverables from Definition that are used to assess the level of fit between the business requirements and standard application functionality. Gaps are identified and corresponding solutions developed. The analysis results in a proposal for conducting business operations under the envisioned application technical architecture. Solutions for gaps evolve into detailed designs during Solution Design.
3. Solution Design:The purpose of Solution Design is to develop the detailed designs for the optimal solutions to meet the future business requirements. During this phase, project team members create detailed narratives of process solutions developed during Operations Analysis. Supporting business requirements may require building application extensions to standard features; several alternative solutions may have been defined during Operations Analysis. The project team carefully scrutinizes these solutions and chooses the most cost effective alternatives.
4. Build:The coding and testing of all customizations and other custom software including enhancements, data conversions, and interfaces is done during Build. Policy and procedure changes relating to business process modifications are developed. Business system testing is performed to validate that the developed solutions meet business requirements. If customizations, extensions, or conversions are not required, Build is still important because it includes the business system test, which is commonly conducted as a formal conference room pilot. The business system test validates the solutions and is performed in an environment that closely resembles production.
5. Transition: During Transition, the project team deploys the finished solution into the organization. All the elements of the implementation must come together to transition successfully to actual production. The project team trains the end users while the technical team configures the production environment and converts data. Transition ends with the cutover to production, when end users start performing their job duties using the new system.
6.Production: Production begins immediately with the production cutover. It marks the last phase of the implementation, and the beginning of the system support cycle. Included in this final phase is a series of refinements and performance measurement steps. The inhoues MIS/IT Department personnel work quickly to stabilize the system and begin regular maintenance. They will provide the ongoing support to the organization for the remaining life of the system. During Production, you compare actual results to project objectives.
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