As promised in my previous blog, here are 5 more tips to reduce the pain of implementing an ERP system and to improve the chances of meeting all of your business expectations.
Make Scoping a Priority
Scoping is key – it’s all about understanding the scale of the project you are about to undertake. Understand what is achievable in the given timeframe and manage expectations accordingly. The bigger the implementation, the more time will be required. A clear scope of delivery keeps the project on the straight and narrow as you know what should be achieved, by when, and by whom – so should never fall behind. Splitting the scope into manageable phases, each one delivering value, is often the key to balancing momentum and complexity.
Engage the Whole Business
ERP impacts on every aspect of your business. A system that is used throughout the company requires company wide co-operation – and insight from all departments is vital for a well-rounded ERP solution. It’s likely that every department in your business will have some contact with the ERP, so it’s in their interest to be part of the implementation.
Never Underestimate Resource Management
Resource management is key to a successful implementation. Many people dramatically under estimate the level of commitment required from all levels of staff to successfully implement ERP. As a rough guide, for every one day the vendor spends on the implementation, there should be three days of time invested by the customer. If you have a go-live date in mind, you can work backwards to the present day to work out firstly if the go-live date is possible and secondly, how many man hours are required from both the vendor and the customer be able to hit this date. Knowing where you can squeeze, shift and juggle resources around implementation is a huge step toward success.
Test, Test and Test Again
Testing is rarely given the attention it deserves. Failing to test correctly and thoroughly will result in you not truly understanding how the ERP system works and which areas require improvement. It’s essential to dedicate time to mapping and cleansing your test data, and practising the processes, even if certain processes are only undertaken once a year or even less. It’s not inconceivable that one of these ‘occasional’ processes could put the ERP, and subsequently your business at significant risk. Although balancing in-depth testing while managing the day to day business activity can be a challenge, the gain will definitely outweigh the pain in the long term.
Even when your ERP implementation has been tested, doubled tested, signed off and is live, the work is not over – far from it! Businesses need to be able to adapt to the inevitable future changes in processes, staff, customers and technology – to name but a few. In order to remain competitive, you have to keep your ERP system aligned so that it continues to meet business objectives. Investing in an annual health check to ensure processes and systems remain aligned, creating a training plan for new starters, and taking advantage of ERP system vendor upgrades and enhancements are all vital steps to take to ensure your system continues to add value.
Look out for my third and final blog in this series. I will be wrapping up my discussion on streamlining your ERP deployment process and making sure that your implementation goes according to plan.