How to Have a Successful ERP Implementation

Dave Balser

successful ERP implementation.jpgThere are so many variables involved in an ERP implementation that it can feel like a daunting task to undertake. But no matter which platform you’re implementing, what third-party tools you’re working with, or why you’re undertaking this project in the first place, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have a successful ERP implementation.

Have the Right Team in Place

Before your ERP implementation takes off, be sure that you have the right team for the job. The first person to appoint to your team? A project manager. 

A project manager will act as the main point of contact for managing the project deliverables, budget, and timeline. Identifying one key person as the head of the team will limit confusion, especially when it comes to communication between the client and consultant sides of the team.

Depending on the size of your organization and the overall project, the teams involved can include a lot of people. Get to know who all is involved in an ERP project here.

Fully Document Your Business Processes

Whether you’re implementing an ERP for the first time or switching your ERP platform, there’s no question that your business processes will see some major changes. That’s why an ERP project is a perfect time to run a Business Process Review (BPR).

At its core, a BPR allows you to identify all of the software components that are currently in play in your organization, how they interact with each other, and what purpose they serve. It maps out the “as-is” version of your business so that you can determine the “to-be” version on the new platform. This process provides everyone in your organization with comprehensive documentation of your business processes.

This step and the next step both emphasize the same key aspect of an ERP implementation: communication. Preparing your organization for change, defining your plan of attack, and working on a change management strategy will promote a crucial level of transparency throughout the entire project.

Determine Scope and Expectations

It will be impossible to know if your new ERP implementation has been successful if you don’t define success at the beginning of the project. Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and defining measurements for success is crucial to determining success at the end of the implementation.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a project charter. A project charter serves as an internal document and contract for the project team. Through the project lifecycle, the charter becomes the reference document for the project manager, stakeholders and everyone else impacted by the project as it states what was agreed upon and how it will be accomplished. 

Just remember to be specific when defining your scope and expectations, and be sure to keep track of those decisions so that everyone is on the same page.

Assess Risks and Set Yourself Up for Success

Focusing on the benefits of your new system is important, but so is keeping an eye out for potential risks throughout the implementation. Be sure to consider the risks associated with the project as well as risk avoidance strategies and contingency plans up front. By covering those potential issues before they happen, you can mitigate tensions when a challenge arises.

Some good places to start when assessing risk:

  • Determine both ideal and problematic times for the project to deploy.
  • Start cleaning up your old system and ensure the quality of your data.
  • Prepare your technical environment.

These steps will help clear a path for a successful implementation.

Provide Employees with Adequate Training

One of the main reasons you selected your ERP platform is its features. But can you leverage those features in all of the ways your organization needs? If the software has the capability but your team doesn’t know how it works, then your ERP isn’t going to work the way you need it to. 

It’s important to invest resources into ongoing, comprehensive training for your staff, not only so they can familiarize themselves with the new ERP before it goes live, but so that they can continue to use it to its full potential down the line.

Plan for the Future

Your project isn’t over once your new ERP implementation is live. In order to keep everything running as efficiently as possible you need to plan for the future of your ERP environment. This includes continuing training once everything is live, reassessing the tools in place, and determining if expectations were met. It can take a few months to work out all of the kinks of a new system, so don’t be afraid to plan for some changes to occur even after the project has wrapped.

While following all of these tips will get your project off on the right foot, partnering with the right team is the best way to have a successful ERP implementation. Contact our team to see how we can help. 

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