Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation
Implementing an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is an expensive proposition and seeing a return on an ERP investment is not always immediate. Further, according to a report commissioned by Panorama Consulting, one in five ERP implementation projects end in failure. To help ensure your company is not the one, the following are some tips on how to complete a successful ERP implementation project.
Pick the ERP that Fits Your Needs
It seems obvious, but it is not always easy, especially with so many ERP options available. Steering clear of choosing the ‘fun,’ new feature, just because it is new, is important. Selecting the ERP system that best fits your specific business’ needs and industry requirements, is crucial. You need to consider if the ERP you choose can support the regulatory requirements of your business or if you will have to pay for a variety of customizations to do so. If the ERP does allow you to customize, how easily can those customs be upgraded in the future? To help in your decision-making, get a requirements list from key stakeholders in all areas of your business. Make sure the requirements list includes functional and operational must-haves as well as requirements that will support future growth and expansion.
Consider Total Cost of Ownership
While cost is probably always going to be a consideration when choosing an ERP system, you have to consider the total cost of ownership of the product, not just the initial price tag. Compare the hardware, consulting dollars to implement, initial and ongoing training costs, and internal resources to maintain the software, maintenance, and future upgrade costs. Something that may seem like a bargain at first glance may prove to be the most expensive option over the long haul. Refer back to your requirements list as well as future expenses when determining total cost of ownership.
Get Buy-In from Key Personnel
In addition to getting suggestions and system requirements from the key stakeholders in your organization, it is critical to get buy-in from your organization’s leadership. Senior management does not have to be (nor should they be) involved in every step of the implementation process. However, having leadership champion an ERP implementation project can help ensure success in a myriad ways from allocating resources and breaking down any internal barriers to helping facilitate success through each stage of completion.
Don’t Forget Buy-in from Others
While getting support and buy-in from the upper echelons of a company is critical, the importance of getting the backing from the rest of the organization should not be overlooked. To help ensure the success of your ERP implementation process, get input, help, and feedback from the entire organization. Create an interdepartmental implementation team, a group comprised of individuals from different parts of the company such as accounting, operations, information technology, sales, and human resources. This ensures the success of the ERP project is supported across all facets of an organization, creating buy-in that can drive the overall project’s success.
Make a solid investment in training. While many ERP systems tout their “intuitiveness” and ease of use, it is still important to invest in structured training. When users are not properly trained on a system, they often fail to use the software properly. Many become frustrated, abandoning the system, and resorting to manual workarounds that replicate how things were previously. This makes your ERP investment worthless. It is critical to invest in training, and to create role-specific training with specific goals and outcomes defined.
The prospect of choosing, buying, and implementing an ERP system that is going to help your company grow and prosper can seem impossible. However, having a successful ERP implementation is possible; it takes planning and strategic decision-making (and executing) to become reality.
ArcherPoint has been helping make successful ERP implementations a reality for over 15 years. We can help you review your business needs and challenges and suggest a solution that fits within your budget and other criteria. Contact us today!