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How Long Should an ERP Implementation Take?

Pair of glasses with account ledgers

“How long?” is usually the only other question that can challenge “How much?” These questions are tied closely in a business culture with a “Time is money” kind of mentality. If a business is looking to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, a result-driven thought process may have to get shifted to the back burner for a minute; probably longer.

There is no standard timeframe for an ERP project implementation because it varies depending on several circumstances. Generally, implementing an ERP project takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. It can vary wildly however, depending on the size of the company, complexity of the system being installed, expected concurrent users, number of independent instances set up, and the transfer or integration of data from legacy systems. With so many variables, it’s important to adopt a patient mindset for the project, because it’ll pay off in the long run to not rush the process.

At the beginning and throughout the project, it is imperative to focus on the relationship between vendor and client. An open dialogue is important for each side to understand the requirements of the business and how to best implement the system to fulfill them. Without both sides being fully involved in the elicitation of requirements, the chances of project failure rise incredibly fast. This interchange continues in later stages as well. The vendor and client must train future users to use the system and see the value that is being added to the business. It’s a process that can take a significant amount of time depending on the depth of training required.

So while the timeline of any project can’t be estimated before the requirements are fully defined, the client should be mindful in keeping realistic expectations of how long the ERP implementation will take. This process is by no means quick, and it cannot be rushed. Changing how the organization operates is a process that must be navigated in a careful manner. With a vendor, a client can develop an implementation plan that sets benchmarks to be checked along the way. Together they can talk to understand the variables that might increase or decrease the duration of the project. Stakeholders may become agitated at the length of time required to complete the project, but remember, future gains will be realized if the process isn’t deprived of the necessary care.

To read more about ERP project implementations, check out the following articles from ArcherPoint:

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