There is no getting away from the fact that a successful ERP implementation requires time and resources. There are steps you can follow though to help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Not taking these steps could prolong the process and make it costlier than it needs to be. With this in mind, here are seven tips for a successful ERP implementation.
Set Your Goals
It might seem like common sense, yet there are still businesses that take on projects without knowing the exact purpose of the project, or why it is so important.
When implementing an ERP system, it’s critical that you identify and clarify measurable objectives. You can track metrics such as profit margin, utilisation rate and win rate so you know that you’re on the right track.
Ensure that everyone involved in the implementation is aware of the goals and that you have a buy-in from them.
Achieve Clarity Around Your Needs
When you begin looking for an ERP solution, you may simply start the research process by looking for software vendors. But how do you know what vendor or product is right for you if you don’t know what your needs are?
Before you do anything else, you should consider what features are essential are and create a list of requirements. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to move forward with your ERP implementation quicker if you know exactly what you need from the outset.
Commit To The Process
Many businesses don’t fully understand how much time, effort or money it will take to implement an ERP system. Do your research and set a realistic budget and goals. Also, know that it’s going to take time for your team to adjust to the system and start using it to its full potential. For this reason, end-user training and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) can be just as important as the implementation itself.
It can be helpful to set deadlines for each stage of the implementation. Sticking to these deadlines will prove critical to your success, since it can be difficult to make up for lost time once you fall behind. Our Sage X3 and Unit4 Business World (Agresso) Project Management services are designed to help ensure your implementation time-frame is being managed and adhered to.
Get Buy-In From Management
Without the commitment and support of senior management, your ERP implementation could prove unsuccessful. If management is committed to the new system, everyone else is likely to fall in line.
Management are often the ones who have to make resources available for the implementation, therefore it is crucial you involve them from the outset, explaining the purpose, expectations and requirements for the project.
Also, don’t forget to get buy-in from end users. They are the ones that are going to be engaging with the ERP system on an ongoing basis, so their support is crucial.
Find A Skilled And Qualified Consultant Team
There’s a good chance you will require the help of a skilled consultant team for a successful ERP implementation.
A good starting point is to look for a consulting team that is a partner of the ERP software vendor of your choice. That way you are ensuring they will not only be experts with the system, but they are likely to have experience within your industry, as it is likely to be one that is a traditional sector for them and the software. You can also rely on a partner having a good working relationship with the ERP vendor of your choice should any problems arise.
Be sure to look for someone who can commit to your project for the coming months, as an implementation is not done overnight. For that reason, it is important to look for an established team who offer the full-range of services required for the implementation. You don’t want to have to be switching service provider throughout the project.
Be Prepared To Train Your Employees
The most powerful ERP system on the planet is of little use if your employees don’t understand how to use it. Once your system data becomes a mess, it’s going to take a long time to fix it.
Therefore, it is imperative you train your employees on how to use the system. Hopefully, you’ve already acquired buy-in from them well in advance of having to train them, as otherwise they may not feel as invested in the process as leadership is. While you’re training your employees, take notes and turn your learnings into a fully-fledged training program for future hires.
Determine Whether To Develop
Once your system has been implemented, it often makes sense to draw-up a development wish-list so you have an idea of which areas of functionality you would like to add in the future.
Traditionally, development is believed to be costly and time-consuming, but with the growth in system add-on developments, such as our range of Unit4 Business World (Agresso) Expert Solutions, some development needs can now be met in a much quicker and cost-effective way.
For those development needs that are not met by system add-ons, such as integrations with your other key business systems, it can still often make financial sense to head down the bespoke development route. Although this can initially seem costly and time-consuming, the efficiencies and profits that can be gained often far outweigh the initial outlay.