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People at Datel: Paolo Arcangelo, X3 Services Director

X3 Services Director Paolo Arcangelo talks Sage X3 Enterprise Management, the benefits of a phased system implementation, and the art of continuous improvement.

“It’s a bit like building a house,” Paolo says of Datel’s Sage X3 Enterprise Management implementation methodology. “We design and build the essentials - the living room, the bedrooms, the kitchen. We then extend that house over time as the family grows and needs change.”

To apply that analogy to Sage X3 Enterprise Management: implement the features and functions critical to day-to-day business operations first. In Paolo’s words, these are the critical "quick wins" that generate return on that initial system investment.

“The first phase of an implementation will usually satisfy core system requirements to drive efficiencies and save time and money,” he says. “From there, the partnership between Datel and the customer means we're able to identify how the system can be extended to incorporate other aspects of the business.”

In short, Datel’s methodology is specifically designed to reap the benefits of a Sage X3 Enterprise Management implementation as quickly as possible, in addition to providing a bedrock for future needs and objectives.

Twenty years, one solution

And Paolo would know something about implementing Sage X3 Enterprise Management. With over 20 years' experience implementing ERP systems, Paolo - and his team of specialist consultants - have successfully implemented over 100 systems since its UK launch in 2009.

As Datel’s X3 Services Director, Paolo works closely with other departments in architecting solutions in their design and delivery phases to ensure an expert implementation. In particular, he's passionate about implementing Sage X3 Enterprise Management in multi-currency, multi-legislation environments - something in part fuelled by his Economics degree from the University of Hull.

It’s this passion which led Paolo to the conclusion that Sage X3 Enterprise Management is more than an ERP system.

A platform for progress

“Sage X3 Enterprise Management isn’t just a business management solution - and that’s certainly not the way Datel approaches implementations,” he says. “It can become a powerful platform for change throughout the entirety of an organisation.”

But this doesn't just mean a change of processes and procedures. As Datel’s methodology works to establish the initial ‘quick wins’ - elements the system needs to cover core business processes - it means additional or complementary processes aren’t always included in the scope of the initial implementation.

But this provides a number of benefits, as Paolo explains: “The solution might appear to drive process change on the surface, but it can also drive cultural change within a business too.

"Suddenly, everybody starts looking for areas and processes outside the system to see if they can be incorporated to drive efficiency business-wide. It's not just a change of process, it's a change of perspective."

And by targeting core requirements in the initial implementation phase, it means subsequent phases can incorporate feedback from that first step. Employees, according to Paolo, begin to identify other areas that would benefit from Sage X3 Enterprise Management, including areas they might not have noted before.

“In effect, you’re crowdsourcing the scientific method. You implement, you assess, then you revise based on feedback from a live-system environment and tweak future implementation accordingly.

"Meanwhile, the business is reaping the benefits of the system.”

The art of continuous improvement 

“It’s all about small, measurable objectives,” says Paolo. “We want our customers on the platform so they can start earning that return on investment as soon as possible. It’s then that we start to look at how we can further maximise that investment in future phases."

But not every wish list item - system additions that could help maximise that investment - necessarily makes it live, “We always want to assess the feasibility of the functionality we implement. We want to make sure it provides genuine value for a business.”

And an approach of considered, incremental change also provides another benefit: it prevents businesses from being overwhelmed by massive and complex transformations.

"Continuous self-improvement over time means your employees aren’t having to handle sudden shifts in processes on a large scale. They learn the core functionalities of Sage X3 Enterprise Management needed to fulfil their roles.

“When new functions are added later, that existing familiarity gives them the confidence to embrace more change, more process improvement."  

Processes - and the people behind them

And so for Paolo, the mantra of continuous self-improvement is also a mantra of gradual self-improvement, both for businesses and the people behind them. 

It's also a mantra that drives Paolo and Datel, as he explains, “Datel is driven by a culture of continuous self-improvement. It permeates our people, our processes and our methodologies.

"It’s a culture we want to pass on to our customers with our Sage implementations.”