An Enterprise Resource Planning implementation is one of the most stressful and time consuming implementations a business can undertake.
The replacement of working practices, business processes and adoption of a new system that impacts every operational transaction a business makes to improve efficiencies can be fraught with danger if a few simple cornerstone rules are not adhered to.1. Choose the correct Enterprise Resource Planning system
User Licences, Price, Flexibility, Modernity, Ease of Use, Cloud, Technical Architecture are some of the factors that must be addressed, compared and benchmarked.
2. Choose the right Implementation partner
References, Industry standing, Team skill set, Experience in multiple sectors, International experience helps to offer innovative solutions based on the knowledge of the software and requirement. Best practice enforcement at all stages of the project.
3. Governance Structure
100% Dedicated Internal Project Manager, Department Champions for process change.Clear lines of communication during the project to remove bottlenecks and focus on the deliverables across all departments. Break down resistance to change management.
4. Business Requirements and Process Improvements
Be clear about your internal processes. Document and know what areas you want improvements done. Document your high level requirements per department to form the initial book of work.The more clarity you bring into this area the higher your chances of success.
5. Target Architecture
Be clear what the eventual target architecture is and decommission legacy applications. Make sure all operational transactions are recorded accurately on the platform to get the correct real time reporting of your business.
6. Budget Management
Maintain a clear budget based on the book of work. All projects are based on time and materials so any scope amendments will play out with an extension to the duration of the project timeframe or adjust the resourcing to keep within the implementation window.
To expect any implementer to get your system live on a constantly shifting quick sand of requirements and scope is a recipe for disaster.
7. Employees Adoption
Any system implemented must be adopted and used by your employees. Training and input into the project delivery to improve their productivity in the new ERP system is central to the project success.
Try and avoid creating bottlenecks in system adoption by putting the controls to onboard employees in the hand of a single individual. Ideally you need the department head to own the process and alleviate issues the team members have.
8. Go Live
Finally the system is live and you can see improvements and analyse much better across your operations. The process does not stop there but a continuous improvement and settling in period is key to ensure that the system is bedded in correctly and your new business processes should give you the productivity increases you were expecting.
There is no quick and easy way to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning system in any business of a sensible size that has been in operations for at least 4 to 5 years. The scope and scale of the undertaking will of course vary by company size.
Be realistic as a business when you embark on this undertaking, cutting corners within this process will not give you the full benefits of what you are looking to put into place to grow your business further and any compromises will invariably limit your growth rate based on your initial reasons for implementing an ERP.
Addressing the points above and getting to the detail of what is required to deliver each of these points within your business will give you a higher chance of success as you embark on your ERP project. Good luck.