Implementing a new ERP is never easy and comes with risk, expense, and business disruption. However, the benefits of implementing the right ERP the right way far outweigh the costs. For example, the right ERP will enable larger organizations to have controls needed to allow the CEO, board, and stockholders to sleep at night. The right ERP will allow growing organizations to quickly integrate acquisitions into existing operations and provide a clear picture of how the combined entity is performing.
Unfortunately, horror stories about never-ending or failed ERP implementations abound. So how does a company avoid becoming a failed ERP implementation statistic? It’s all in the preparation. The most successful ERP teams take all or most of the following into consideration prior to implementation:
Select a Fit-for-purpose ERP
There are a variety of ERP solutions to choose from with as many price points. It’s no longer necessary to choose a tier one SAP ECC or Oracle E-Business solution to support a complex business model. Tier two solutions provided by Microsoft, Sage, NetSuite, and even SAP have come a long way and should not be ignored. In many cases, they provide specialized functionality and a more intuitive user experience than tier one products.
Understand Systems Integrator Culture
Ask candidate software providers to team with a recommended systems integrator through the ERP selection process. That provides the ability to determine if the system integrator really understands your business. More importantly, it provides the ability to see if the systems integrator’s culture matches yours.
Engage Independent Project Management
Asking the systems integrator to manage the project is a little like asking the fox to watch the hen house. Hiring a third party to help manage the project and ensure change management is not overlooked greatly reduces the chances of a project overrun and ensures acceptance of the new system after go-live.
Pick the Best and Brightest
A new ERP opens the door to rethinking how to run the business. Putting the best and brightest on the project team will ensure the new processes and organization structures are optimized. If you want top results, put the A-team players on the team. C-team players will make decisions that overly complicate the solution and delay the project.
Rationalize Reporting Needs
Developing a comprehensive reporting strategy before design helps drive the right process and configuration decisions. It is critical to determine what information is required from the system before designing processes and making critical configuration decisions, driving what and how information is entered into the system.
Justify an Implementation Approach
Developing and executing a comprehensive roadmap that takes into consideration organization complexity helps ensure success. A Big Bang approach where all functionality is implanted at one time works well for a centralized company. A phased approach works well for decentralized companies. Phased approaches could consist of rolling out functionality in logical chunks or mini-Bangs where full functionality is rolled out by business unit. This helps prevent the never-ending ERP implementation.
Align the Organization
A simple exercise of inventorying all key business processes and assigning team or individual ownership for each business process is a must before launching an ERP. Having clear alignment of who owns which business decisions is a must and will reduce decision delays during the implementation.
Understand the Audience
We all hear about change management, and it really boils down to selling the new business processes to the end users. Develop a solid understanding and approach for communications, acceptance, and training is key to starting an implementation.
Trenegy helps companies select, prepare, and implement the right ERP. We help our clients get value of out their new system quickly and relatively painlessly.