Regardless of the nature of business you’re in, ERP implementation becomes a critical project that all organizations should handle with care. From cost concerns and ROI demonstration, to practical consideration about the right person to manage the process at the company, implementing ERP requires a lot of effort and commitment of the project team, supported by strong business leaders in order to boost productivity and ensure success.
You cannot ignore the fact that deploying ERP is a major undertaking that can be stressful and painful. But it doesn’t have to be if you follow industry best practices. To implement an ERP system, you need a proper plan and execution strategy to make the process painless and improve efficiency across business operations. Selecting and deploying an ERP solution requires a number of key considerations. Below are key ERP implementation best practices that will boost productivity.
Selecting and Implementing an ERP Solution for your Business
ERP encompasses a wide range of functions and multiple kinds of implementations that come with it. Choosing to create your own ERP will allow you to build it from the ground up, customize it to suit your organization needs and program it to do exactly what it required. However, the cost and complexity involved in such an undertaking require some level of expertise. A do-it-yourself approach to such a huge project may not yield the desirable results.
Before you consider investing your money or purchasing an on-premise ERP solution and installing it on your firm’s servers and computers, consider the fact that 2/3 of mid-size businesses run old versions of their company’s ERP software, because these organizations will often decide to avoid the pain of re-implementing incremental releases, especially because each upgrade could place the organization in a position where it could lose critical customizations and/or integrations. But by keeping your ERP technology current, you maximize its potential. Therefore, it is critical to choose an ERP system deployment option that is both easy to update and can preserve custom features.
Your ERP provider manages cloud-based ERP software entirely off-site. One of the main advantages of a cloud-based ERP solution is that your organization does not have to make capital-intensive upfront investments in IT hardware such as computers and servers. In addition, you don’t even have to worry about having a dedicated team of IT specialists, nor commit significant personnel resources to help you manage it. In fact, cloud-based implementations tend to be quickly and easily deployable compared to on-site deployments. Maintenance is also easier, as the cloud-based ERP vendor is solely responsible for maintenance and ensuring the technology stays up to date. Cloud technology makes product enhancements painless because integrations and customizations automatically update with the ERP system upgrades. This ensures that your business runs with sophisticated or advanced capability.
Getting Executive Buy-In and Building Consensus around your ERP Implementation
Company executives’ buy-in adds much more meaning than just getting a mere signature to approve investment in an ERP system. It also means efforts to educate leadership on the value strategic implementation adds to a company. ERP technology is more than just software; it can transform your business, and executives must support this idea before advancing any deployment efforts.
Constant communication from company executives about implementation plans is very critical. In addition, they also need to communicate about changing processes to help build consensus and excitement across the organization.
Set Realistic Expectations for your Implementation
ERP technology is so powerful that it can be used to streamline processes, reduce costs, boost productivity, and completely change how your company conducts business, but this can’t happen overnight. Typically, an ERP solution encompasses multiple complex front-and-back-office systems – from the traditional accounting and inventory to contemporary ecommerce and CRM, which should be seamlessly integrated to create a smooth experience for product end users.
With proper planning and careful execution, implementation can be a huge success. Scope your project appropriately to accelerate your ERP implementation process. This often requires the experience and skills of a knowledgeable ERP expert to help with the smooth implementation. The average cloud-based ERP solution customer can implement it within 3 months, which is much less than the 18 months the average on-premise ERP customer takes to implement its ERP.
Focus on Project Management and Staff Resources
For any ERP implementation to be a success, ensure your company has enough staff resources to oversee the implementation project from start to finish. While this may seem obvious, many companies often find themselves beginning the deployment process without having adequate resources in place. The result is overworked, stressed, and unhappy employees who will do a less-than-optimal job and therefore result in a less-than-optimal installation.
For the implementation project to run smoothly, an organization must identify a dedicated team and project leader who clearly understands what is expected of them and are able to deliver within the required time and budget. For this to be a success, reassign or remove some of the ERP team members’ normal job duties to allow them enough time to focus on the task ahead of them. The team leader should possess strong project management skills to facilitate communication within the team and across the entire organization and address any issues that could potentially arise just to ensure the implementation is kept on schedule.
Implementing an ERP system can be very demanding. But with the right personnel resources, dedication, and proper planning and execution, implementation can be a huge success. By identifying a dedicated team and experienced project leader with the right project management skills to enhance communication within the team and across the entire organization, a company can ensure that the deployment process runs smoothly. In addition, by keeping the best practices in sight, you can launch your deployment and ensure it is running on the right track and stays there throughout the whole process. Research the best implementation option for your company, build consensus around the effort, set realistic expectations, and provide your staff with the right support then need to get the job done. However, for the ERP implementation process to be successful, you should take one step at a time to ensure a more effective ERP experience that will result in a better-run business in the long-run.