Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems provide your organization with the tools to automate, integrate, and streamline its core processes. ERPs help your team manage human resources, finance, supply chain inventory management, and other necessary management functions – while providing one source for all organization data. Implementation refers to installing acustom ERP software solution into an organization in a process that integrates multiple business functions (finance/operations/HR, etc.) within one streamlined platform system.
ERP implementationcan be an enormously ambitious goal for any organization, supporting primary business processes like accounting, budgeting, inventory control, supply chain administration, and payroll processing. While implementation might initially sound straightforward, various issues may arise, such as data migration issues or security considerations and integration obstacles.
According to some reports, approximately 55-75% of ERP projects fail; that figure should come as no surprise, considering what an unsuccessful ERP rollout can lead to in terms of lost revenues, shareholder lawsuits, and disruption of operations. To protect against becoming one of these statistics yourself, learn from other implementation mistakes and try not to repeat them yourself.
Tips for Understanding the ERP Implementation Process
Here are our top tips to ensure that you understand a successful ERP implementation process:
Create a Cross-Functional Team
Gather leaders and managers from all relevant departments into an interdisciplinary team that is key for making decisions that benefit everyone and meet specific challenges. Involve all appropriate parties so you can fully evaluate what needs to be implemented rather than looking solely from one viewpoint.
Your team will make decisions regarding software, implementation partners, priorities along the timeline, and post-implementation needs for an ERP implementation project. Your team’s involvement during an ERP implementation is also paramount to its success, helping their departments manage expectations and productivity during implementation and training them on using the system entirely.
Establish Key Requirements and KPIs
Your team should have an in-depth understanding of what goals they aim to meet by adopting ERP software, whether that means improving data analysis across your entire enterprise, improving cost tracking, or simply automating processes to save time and costs.
Review current workflows and critical business processes as part of your organization’s goal-setting process. When you have established which goals your ERP software should help meet, create KPIs to assess its implementation successfully.
Select Your ERP Implementation Partner
Find an ERP implementation partner who provides the level of assistance and service your company requires from start to finish! Not every business requires equal involvement from their implementation partner; not every software development company or implementation partners offer identical services or follow similar methodologies when implementing ERPs.
At your initial discussion with prospective partners, ask how an ERP system will address your unique business drivers and challenges. Also, ask about their approach and what you should expect during the implementation process; your partner should offer a clear roadmap.
Develop a Project Management Plan
A well-thought-out project management plan is critical to meeting business goals, rapidly and successfully resolving issues and overall implementation success.
Before initiating any project, its manager and implementation team should access an up-to-date set of objectives and best practices from upper management or any involved departments.
Collaboration and Communication
Successful projects rely on creating an understanding between all involved in an ERP implementation – from CEO to end users- of its goals and objectives, so establishing clear communications and working together in harmony are paramount to attain mutual respect amongst participants. Clear dialogue must take place for this to work correctly.
CEO and leadership team participation should emphasize the significance of any project, using presentations, charts and graphs, ongoing letters, or blog posts from their CEO as communication. Regularly scheduled meetings or calls may be necessary to coordinate efforts, identify problems/issues as they arise, and share success stories.
As ERP implementation can have significant ramifications on business partners, supply chain members, and customers, it is best practice to inform these parties throughout the project and assist in understanding any changes that might affect them.
Customization and Configuration
A configurable ERP solution is critical to any implementation project’s success, providing customization that fits seamlessly with your organization’s existing processes for smooth adoption and reduced complications. Select configurations that best align with these processes to minimize potential complexities while guaranteeing the smooth adoption of this critical business asset.
Knowing your organization’s requirements ensures that implementing ERP solutions will focus on essentials. ERPs foster change and growth within an organization, so to accommodate your company’s expansion, it must be easily customizable with enough scalability for future changes to come into the business landscape.
Prepare for Data Migration
Data migration can be intricate, time-consuming, and potentially risky, particularly if transferring multiple applications’ worth of information into one ERP system. A sound data transfer plan must be implemented to prevent the loss or corruption of crucial details. To keep costs manageable while protecting sensitive files during transfer.
At the core of any ERP implementation lies the decision on whether or not data transfer occurs manually or using automated tools, each approach offering advantages; manually entering information allows an opportunity for cleansing outdated records such as suppliers that no longer operate and customers who haven’t ordered for years.
Automation may make this task faster and less cumbersome; either way, validation after migration should take place to make sure all data has been transferred accurately to its new home system.
Testing Before Going Live
Before Launch, ensure adequate testing of the new ERP solution. Develop a schedule for testing with all project members attending as appropriate – typically, this period focuses on optimizing rules, security, and policy calculations for best performance.
The Conference Room Pilot (CRP) test period verifies that all users have received appropriate training, business processes are configured according to functional requirements, and an understanding of operational impacts associated with introducing a new system is achieved.
Assure Adequate Training and Support
Proper training and support ensure employees can successfully use your new ERP system. Provide comprehensive hands-on instruction, documentation, and online resources as part of the implementation process. Establish an internal help desk or support team in case any questions or issues arise during or post-implementation.
Maintaining and encouraging an environment of continuous optimization in your ERP solution are keys to its scalability and efficacy. There are various strategies you can employ for constant optimization:
- Promote ongoing training: Promote continuous learning to maximize the ERP system’s potential and push employees toward reaching their maximum potential.
- Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Monitor crucial KPIs to assess how effectively your ERP system meets organizational objectives.
- Adapt to shifting Needs: Keep in mind the ever-evolving nature of business requirements when selecting and configuring an ERP solution, always being open and flexible as your organization grows or business requirements shift.
Begin Collecting End-User Feedback
Gather feedback from end users as early as possible in your implementation process to ensure its smooth running. Gathering their opinions before can offer invaluable insight into any challenges employees are experiencing that need addressing before “going live.”
Collecting feedback will guide the ERP implementation to meet real user needs while showing how people within your organization interact and engage customers – providing insight into ways to enhance these interactions and how customers view you as an organization.
Implementing a new ERP system offers your company an incredible chance to transform digitally, moving beyond limited functionality or outdated technology in its legacy system while taking advantage of modern ERP system capabilities to find new business opportunities.
ERP implementation can be an intricate and time-consuming task, which makes collaboration between different departments within an organization crucial to ensure it goes smoothly and successfully. A robust implementation team should consist of IT, finance, and operations specialists and members from other areas who possess specific knowledge regarding tailoring the system to your organization’s unique requirements.
ERP implementation can be a complex and challenging process, which is why approaching it strategically is so essential to its success. Companies typically implement ERP to streamline operations, increase efficiencies, and gain a competitive edge; having a project team helps set realistic goals while understanding scope and budget considerations and ensuring all bases are covered during implementation.