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Mentioning ERP implementations in a corporate office is like yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre. Chaos ensues. Employees try to avoid being tagged as part of the implementation team. Management tries to calm them, but it’s unsuccessful. Those who have experienced the typical ERP implementation have painful memories of unfulfilled promises to make work easier and reduce workload.

What’s a company to do?

We can’t make ERP implementations go away, but we can help you minimize the pain, control costs, and end up with a new system that’s accepted by employees as they perform their day-to-day activities. Our advice is below.

Don’t Overpromise

Announcing that the new ERP implementation will be better for everyone will get some eye rolls. While the greater good of an ERP system can outweigh the costs, certain employees’ jobs will become more complicated. The weight of the new ERP will be felt where transactions are created in the field, billing, and sales departments. Additional steps in the field time capture and billing process will be required to improve visibility into customer and service line profitability. Organizations need to be equipped to either offload work or budget extra administrative staff to handle the additional work. Ultimately, leadership needs to be honest and recognize where the additional workload is impacted and budget accordingly.

Get the Homework Done

System integrators scope an implementation with a set of customer expectations. We call these homework items, which include data mapping and cleanup, process design, testing and validation, system administration, self-guided training, and cut over activities. These items are critical to a successful implementation, and failure to properly address these items will be evident after the implementation.

Difficult implementations are a result of homework requirements not being adequately scoped and communicated by systems integrators. The systems integrators are hired as the ERP system experts, and it’s rare for them to know the level of homework required. Data cleanup is usually the first culprit. It requires more than just making sure source data is correct. It also requires reconciling and cross-referencing master data across customer, work order, and service lines.

Organizations need to consider budgeting for a full-time, dedicated team of internal or external project leads to manage and execute the homework. The dedicated team needs to be skilled in business process mapping and facilitation, well-organized, and willing to roll up their sleeves for testing, data cleanup, and procedure development.

Focus on the Core

Organizations often expect a new ERP solution to solve every unique challenge and provide a solution for every situation. But it’s like death by a thousand paper cuts for ERP teams that try to address every nuance of the business. Say a procurement manager wants automated solutions for every type of purchase order or vendor situation. The ERP system will either become heavily customized or overly complicated.

A simple customization in an ERP is never simple. Customizations also need to be tested, validated, and re-tested every time the ERP system is upgraded to a new version. ERP teams need to recognize that spreadsheets will never be eliminated, and the system may require bolt-on solutions to solve specific challenges. Organizations need to assess the risk and impact of every customization or special feature.

 

At Trenegy, we work with companies to ensure ERP implementation expectations are realistic. We also assist with homework requirements and help organizations navigate through unique ERP challenges. For smoother, less painful ERP implementations, connect with our team at info@trenegy.com.

 

Related articles:

ERP Implementation: 4 Reasons You Need Outside Help

3 Ways to Prepare for a System Implementation

3 Keys to Successful Change Management During an ERP Implementation

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