The tight timescale was achieved by minimising customisation and using two senior human resources staff to configure the software.
Stuart Watson, IT director at Chivas Brothers, said he wanted to simplify the implementation process and chose to go with the "vanilla" version to ease future updates to the system.
"We do not want to be in a situation in six years where we have a heavily customised system which will need to be re-implemented [to update the software]," he said.
Watson also wanted to use internal staff as much as possible during the implementation so his team would have the knowledge to provide day-to-day support for the system.
An important step in getting the project completed so quickly was convincing business executives to release two key users from the HR department to work full-time on the project.
Watson said, "The executives were made to understand the objectives of the project [to see why the HR staff were required]."
The HR staff were trained to configure and run the software. "One user has moved to the IT department to support the product," he said.
Another key factor in the project's speed was data quality. Data in the business' HR records had already been cleansed following integration work carried out after the acquisition of Chivas by Pernod Ricard in 2001.
The HR system is based on PeopleSoft 8.8 with an Oracle 8 database. The software runs on Intel-based Hewlett-Packard Windows 2000 servers.
Use of key internal staff for the project has given the company a template for future projects. It is about to begin an evaluation of PeopleSoft Enterprise One version 8.11 running on Windows to replace its existing JD Edwards World 7.53 AS/400-based enterprise resource planning system for manufacturing, supply chain and financials.
As with HR, Watson hopes to limit the amount of internal development. "Our general business processes are not significantly different. We will be very tough on internal development with manufacturing and supply chain."
Any customisation would need to identify and document core processes.
Watson was confident such levels of documentation would be achievable. "People are much more rigorous in documenting development and processes," he said. This change in attitude has arisen from euro conversion and Y2K projects, he added.
He plans to start the project to implement PeopleSoft's financials software in January 2005. The roll-out is expected to be completed before the start of the fourth quarter of 2005- the company's busiest trading period. Watson is planning to install PeopleSoft manufacturing and supply chain software by Q2 2006.