If you have already read the article on the benefits of ERP (read here) and you have decide to embark on this journey. Then here are some of the areas that you MUST haves (or at least have consider seriously) to ensure great success in your implementation.
1. Define Your Desired Results
One of the key risks that customers face in implementing ERP solutions is not being able to make an impact on the business bottom line. When you are purchasing a new ERP system you need to understand your business what you do what you want to achieve what your processes are. Not what you necessarily do today but also where you want to go to and what you ultimately want to achieve.
2. Don’t Automatically Reuse Old Work Flows
Many people will buy a new ERP system without understanding their business and what they are effectively doing is spending an awful lot of money to replace a like-for-like system.
3. Map all of Your Business Processes
The key to a successful ERP implementation boils down to creating a solid business case right in the beginning, being very clear as to what are the bottlenecks in the processes, what are the areas that are challenged today, and which specific areas in business need to be impacted. This is really a blueprint that should be in place before you start thinking about the IT component of the ERP implementation. You need to get the business stakeholders and the end users into rooms to document what they do and ask the important question of why they do things.
4. Make Sure You Have Executive Level Sponsorship
Constant involvement of senior execs during the project process helps to mitigate the risk of architecting processes within the overall solution that are counterintuitive to the company’s overall strategy.
5. Assemble the Right Project Team
one of the big problems that enterprise face in ERP implementation is that when they are assembling a team they often put the people that are available, the people that they can most easily spare and not the key people that are the key decision-makers in the organization that understand where their weaknesses are and also where their current strengths are.
6. Try to Standardize and Avoid Developments
The common reason why an ERP project might fail is if too many developments are identified and approved. It is important to try and minimize those developments and one of the techniques you can use is to ensure that you have got strong board sponsorship about the direction of the project and you have got good buy-in from the key users about adopting a new solution.
7. Make User Training a Priority
Training the core team and training the end users on the ultimate software you are going to use is a necessity. It is generally towards the end of a project that many businesses set a go-live date and the part that gets crushed in the timescales is the training and the end user exposed to the system so the more investment that you can make time wise in training ultimately leads to a better go live.
8. Focus on Getting the Right Data into the System
There are no magic bullets in data migration, define the migration and separate project and choose the right people within the business to own the data. Test, test, and test again as positive user acceptance testing and good data management doesn’t stop after go-live it’s an ongoing process which needs to be defined.
9. Select the Right Solution Partner
Choosing the right solution and the right partner for the implementation is important. Often, people choose solutions based on costs or even the partner on cost as well and I think it is important to think about how does that solution fit what your business needs and how does it fit the needs of your business for the future and how can you work with a partner that you have selected. Do they have the same mindset, do they have the same approach, and ultimately can you build long-term strategic relationships with them?
Always opt for ERP systems with cloud options, to use web-based solutions you need only an internet browser. This makes it very easy to deploy the system throughout your organization and most importantly the system is accessible from anywhere and at any time. This is especially an ideal solution for remote users like executives and sales reps who are always on the move.
11. Factor in Change management
ERP implementation project is a challenging endeavor for any organization. Yet, above that, change management is one of the most frequently cited critical success factors in ERP implementation.
Before implementation, it is crucial to set the stage for success by addressing resistance directly. A successful ERP implementation hinges on a cooperative and competent team. For the best chance of success, roll out a plan that systematically directs each employee on using the new system with specific guidance to make their jobs easier. Always reassure employees that they will not be replaced by a machine.
12. Consider Support Options
Nothing in business or technology is static, be sure you select an ERP provider with options for your deployment from full support to consultative advice.
Don’t forget to ask about add-ons and be sure that the ERP system is capable of integrating with industry or workflow specific applications for future enhancement.
14. Take Risk Management Into Account
As you select an ERP solution, look for one that is established and reliable. Choose the ones that offer assistance in managing all areas of your business and has options for data recovery in the event of a disaster.
It seems very strange to say that a go-live can lead to an ERP failure. The key is that you need to keep reviewing your business processes, you need to keep reviewing your requirements, and, ultimately, if you don’t keep challenging and pushing forward, you start to go backward.
There is no real standing still with ERP systems and technology you have to keep adapting you have to keep challenging.