It’s doesn’t matter if you are undertaking your first enterprise resource planning software system (ERP) or if you’re doing a replace of a legacy system, your company will most likely encounter challenges. This is because the complexity of the project doesn’t allow for a wrinkle-free experience.
However, if you plan the pre-implementation stage correctly and if you approach the project in small, manageable parts, you can keep ERP implementation challenges to a minimum. Therefore, a step-by-step approach using best practices and employing much patience will enable your ERP implementation project to not only stay on track and within scope, but to also stay within budget.
1. Make the Right Pre-Implementation Choices
If you make bad choices with ERP implementation, you’ll start on the wrong foot. You need to be careful with your approach when you select ERP solutions for your organization.
You need to make sure the ERP implementation software you choose meets your company’s objectives. To do that you need to list the functional and technical requirements of your company and do a request-for-proposal (RFP) with software vendors. Don’t make your decision based on cost alone. You need to look at the entire cost-value picture. You also need to consider the type of deployment. Should you focus on cloud, on-premise or is a hybrid two-tier solution best for your company? Finally, can your organization manage the ongoing support need for the system which also includes the maintenance and costs of operation?
2. Be Precise – and Realistic – When Planning
What is one of the primary steps in a successful ERP implementation project? The answer is planning. So start by mapping out your ERP journey. What will your day-to-day actions be? There will be data and business processes that support those actions. What will they be? By taking this step, you’ll be able to reveal the features and functions of the ERP that are essential to your organization. In addition, you’ll establish how workflows need to be constructed, and you’ll see what needs to be configured and customized. While doing this, you’ll also get a better idea of the design of the backend and supporting infrastructure, and that includes the connecting systems, data integration, and migration.
Your implementation team needs to come up with a project plan that is based only on clear and measurable goals and objectives. An ERP can help with this especially well if you are using a good sales and marketing platform like Evolution360.com alongside it. That’s the only way to not only stay within scope but to also stay within budget. Furthermore, the goals you solidify need to be transferred into project milestones that within a realistic timeline can be achieved. Incorporate trial runs and testing phases so that you can see what issues may occur and be proactive by fine-tuning the design configuration before you take the system live.
Support and maintenance, considered post-implementation considerations, need to be included. Take the terms that have been laid out by your software provider and/or your implementation service provider and close any gaps by adding the support services provided by your company’s IT staff.
3. Build an All-Star, Cross-Functional Team
Your ERP implementation team should be a team of “All-Stars,” and that means the very best people with the best skills for a successful deployment. According to Abakion a good ERP solution is organization-wide. Therefore, your team should be not only cross-functional, but it should also be cross-departmental and include not only the high-skilled IT personnel but also active daily users.
4. A well-rounded team is key
You need good communication that is not only open but also frequent. These kinds of discussions include brief daily meetings that will address the project’s progression as well as open the floor for any questions or issues that come up. You’ll also need a project management tool, accessed by team members, to collaborate on tasks, communicate and share project documents and other information.
Of most importance is the individuals of your ETP implementation team’s willingness to commit their time to the project. Proper resource allocation is key for the project and these details must be shared with the management and executive teams. This will better able staff availability whenever needed which helps to ensure a successful project.
5. Manage Change, Avoid Chaos
The way your employees work will change due to the new ERP system. Therefore, there has to be a change management plan for the success of the implementation. To avoid mass chaos, plan and implement tactics that will eliminate resistance to the impending changes.
Be sure to include educational sessions with the ERP rollout plan so that your staff will know the benefits of the new system. There should also be company-wide announcements, from time to time, to inform and update staff on the project’s progression and milestones.
When you have information sessions, employees are better able to accept the new technology and users adapt better. Help this process along by providing ongoing training programs and resources that are fully accessible. Choose a variety of methods including forums and online support communities, group sessions, and instructional videos. Be sure also to enlist the help and guidance of your “super users” or more experienced users of the system to share tips and tricks.