Google cloud partner transparant

Blog Series: The journey of Sara Harper – CIO of UrbanBox Living

Sara Harper
Ronald Haantjes

Ronald Haantjes - Commercial Director Americas

Join us in an insightful series that follows the remarkable Enterprise Software Modernization journey of Sara Harper, CIO of UrbanBox Living. UrbanBox is a leading manufacturer and distributor of shipping containers converted to mobile or stationary housing, called “Urban Boxes.” The company offers a range of configurable options for each urban box, such as floor layouts, size and location of windows and doors, choice of HVAC, bathrooms and kitchen options, and premium options such as solar panels and water filtration systems.

Background and Challenges:

Sara Harper fotoSara inherits a challenging situation. Years ago, UrbanBox’s previous CIO invested in an on-prem ERP system with perpetual user licenses. He commissioned several customizations to tailor the software to UrbanBox’s unique needs and preferences. Now, faced with the ERP vendor’s push to migrate on-prem customers to the latest cloud version, Sara is confronted with a complex decision-making process.

While the vanilla on-prem ERP version will continue to receive critical fixes and security updates for seven more years, the ERP vendor will not guarantee issue resolution for customized ERP instances. On the other hand, the ERP vendor’s on-premise to cloud migration demands significant investment in finances and time. In addition, Sara is acutely aware that Gartner estimates anywhere from 55% to 75% of ERP projects fail or don’t meet their original goals and objectives.

Sara performs a cost-benefit analysis, weighing the hefty costs and risks of a cloud ERP implementation, training, change management, and recurring subscription fees. This leads her to a strategic decision: instead of performing open-heart surgery, she can achieve her goals with a cosmetic surgery approach. She wisely decides to postpone the eventual cloud migration and maximize the return on UrbanBox’s investment in their on-prem ERP solution.

Sara must return the ERP system to a vanilla state and transform customizations into cloud-native add-ons, supporting a future cloud ERP migration.

Collaborative Decision-Making:

Sara isn’t alone on this journey. Her team of dedicated colleagues are all seasoned IT professionals and business process experts, playing pivotal roles in shaping the company’s IT future. Striving to maintain the project’s budget while ensuring seamless operations, Sara collaborates closely with these team members to assess the most efficient route forward.

Sara’s PMP-certified project manager, Matt, will orchestrate the entire revamping process. With an acute sense of organization and timelines, Matt ensures that every task aligns with the project plan. His ability to allocate resources effectively and maintain clear communication among team members keeps the project on track and safeguards successful execution.

In addition to Matt as project manager, Sara enlists Priyanka as the lead business analyst. Priyanka has a long track record at UrbanBox. She was involved in the original ERP implementation and has acquired deep exposure to virtually all business processes at UrbanBox. Her analytical insights will help guide the project’s direction. She will collect and distill stakeholder input, thoroughly evaluate the existing system, and identify gaps and challenges. Through meticulous analysis, Priyanka will provide actionable recommendations to drive the project’s evolution.

Sara also adds Rob to the team. Rob is an experienced senior in-house developer with a thorough exposure to various programming languages and enterprise software systems. Rob will contribute to the business IT modernization by translating conceptual ideas into tangible solutions via writing and implementing code. The combination of his technical expertise alongside his deep understanding of enterprise application functionality will be critical to the success of the modernization journey.

To round out the team, Sara enlists IT infrastructure specialist Meghan to handle all networking, computing power, and security aspects.

Sara’s journey includes the following blog posts:

As the series unfolds, readers witness Sara’s determination and the power of collaboration and innovative thinking as the driving force behind the ERP modernization journey at UrbanBox. Will she successfully conquer technical and organizational challenges and transform the company’s IT landscape?

Stay tuned for our first episode next week,
and check our webinar schedule!

Do you have any questions or do you need professional advice? We’re happy to help you!