The CBO guide to a successful ERP implementation
There are several factors to consider when ensuring the success of your ERP implementation project. We’ve put together some key points to guide you through the process. Read below to learn what makes a good ERP implementation project.
Set clear objectives
Setting clear objectives ensures you have a plan in place before the project kicks off.
Make sure you’ve taken time to define your business processes, budgets and timelines before taking the plunge.
One of the key things to consider is staff. Who will be involved in the project? What are their capabilities? Will overtime be required, and if so, how much?
Try to be realistic. Few things are more demotivating for your workforce than learning there is no overtime in the budget. Get this right first time and you’ll save drama further down the line.
Of course, there may be some overlap with the sales process here. Don’t worry about repeating yourself – the more detail that you can agree on with other stakeholders the better.
Objectives should be measurable and include sort term and long-term goals.
If you keep these points in mind, you’ll put yourself in good stead for your upcoming project.
Create an ERP project team
We’ve covered defining the staff that the project will affect and making sure they’re adequately supported.
However, putting together a quality ERP project team is a slightly different challenge.
For the upcoming implementation, you’ll need staff from each relevant department to be on board.
As well as sharing resources and ideas, having them involved in an official capacity will ensure everyone has a stake in the project and will improve cooperation.
Appointing an ERP project manager is a key decision. This individual will need to possess a mixture of technical, planning and people skills.
In short, they’re worth their weight in gold if you have such a person.
One top tip is to delegate the title of ‘ERP Champion’ to one worker within each department.
This person will communicate decisions to the wider workforce and help to ensure change is represented positively across the business.
Once the team has completed their job, it could be helpful to keep them together for ERP troubleshooting meetings after go-live.
Select an ERP implementation partner
The success of your project will live or die by the suitability of the partner that helps you deliver it.
While finding the right software can be a challenge, deciding on a consultant team that suits your ethos can be equally complex.
When searching for a partner, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll want a team who are competent and highly experienced in the software you’ve selected.
Next, the partner will need to demonstrate positive references of past implementations in similar industries.
You’ll also want to have one eye on the future. The true measure of success spans years into the future and can be determined by its continuing value to your business as time goes on. End-user training, continuing support and the scope for upgrades down the line should also be considered.
For further information on partner selection, check out our blog here.
Set a budget for the ERP Implementation
Related to selecting a suitable partner is setting an appropriate budget.
It should be no surprise that costing your software and implementation project will be difficult without both sides having a firm grasp on what the requirements are.
This mutual understanding will develop gradually, first with the discovery meeting. Here your potential partner will visit your site, get to grips with your processes for the first time, and try to understand your requirements.
Similarly, you can use this as a chance to learn more about the typical pricings involved for comparable projects they have completed in the past.
In our opinion, your best strategy is to be open, focus on what you need, rather than what you want and to value functionality over cost.
You’ll find this approach saves you money in the long run.
You can learn more about setting up an ERP project discovery meeting here.
Plan and execute data migration
When switching to new software, the process will be complicated by data stored over multiple legacy systems.
While these systems may be well documented and easy to navigate, this is not always the case.
The challenge during your ERP project will be bringing this data together in a manner that allows more efficient communication between people and departments.
There are a number of ways to ensure this is done efficiently while protecting integral data to your business.
First, we recommend choosing a ‘data champion’ to lead on data capture and aid the transition.
This person is typically a highly experienced member of the team who knows your current system inside and out.
This person will set to work conducting reviews of the current systems, organize data and prepare for testing and validation.
One tip is to take a phased approach to data migration. This reduces the size of the staff required and ensures nothing is missed by going through multiple phases of validation.
End-user training and Support
The long term success of your implementation is just as dependent on how the system is maintained as it is on the initial set up.
End-users and their competency and conscientiousness around the system will make or break your project.
To prevent end-user malpractice, we recommend getting buy-in as early as possible and putting in place detailed guidelines in anticipation of project completion.
These internal resources standardise best practice and ensure the long term success of your product. They should also include basic troubleshooting advice.
Part of this process should include a standardised training programme for new starters.
Our blog takes you through how to nip bad habits by end-users in the bud.
Did this help? If you’re interested in finding out more, you can arrange a discussion with a consultant here.