Organizations that want to continue to grow in the competitive landscape need to improve profitability, better optimize resources and most importantly keep customers satisfied. Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution improves operations by streamlining business processes and gives you a competitive edge. However, it needs to be done right to reap the benefits.
A SUCCESSFUL ERP IMPLEMENTATION TAKES TIME AND INVESTMENT
Gartner has estimated that 80% of ERP software implementations take longer than expected and exceed budget costs. With the right planning and execution, the implementation process can be smooth and provide the expected return on investment (ROI).
Provided below are best practices you can apply to realize maximum benefits and achieve a smooth implementation process.
1. PLAN, PLAN & PLAN
There is no substitute for careful planning. You should have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your ERP implementation. Receiving input from each department about their expected deliverables and goals is important to the success of the project.
As part of your project, there needs to be a way to establish success or failure. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) allows you to quantifiably measure progress and performance during and after the implementation.
2. CREATE AN ERP BUDGET
It can be easy to overspend on your ERP implementation, however, through mutual collaboration with all stakeholders, there is no reason you cannot meet your budgetary constraints. Items to consider for your budget are:
- Corporate related costs
- Consultancy fees
- Software fees
- Implementation team and general staff overtime for various phases of the project
3. CHOOSING THE RIGHT IMPLEMENTATION PARTNER
The size and scope of your implementation project will determine whether you need to choose a consultancy or do the project in-house. This decision is based on how much in-house knowledge you have about your ERP software and timeline of the project. Most organizations don’t have the bandwidth in-house to tackle a complex project like implementing an integrated ERP solution, so it pays to partner with an implementation expert that has the project management resources and proven methodology to meet your organization’s ERP goals and objectives.
If you do decide to choose an outside consultant, they should have a proven methodology that provides you with a roadmap for success. Their methodology needs to be formal but allow for flexibility to adapt to your organization’s specific needs.
4. TOP EXECUTIVE INVOLVEMENT
The project will be more successful when it has full buy-in, including funds allocation, from top management beginning at the initial planning stage through the implementation of the project. The visible executive support with motivate stakeholders and end users because the implementation will be viewed as a top priority.
Assigning a project team that includes representation for key user groups ensures that all stakeholders needs and requirements are taken into consideration. Ensure the team members are leaders and innovators, and that they understand and believe in the project. Duties of the project team include:
- Reviewing business processes and gathering key documents
- Analysis of which processes need to be improved and automated
- Defining key requirements and performance metrics
- Clearly defining expectations and business outcomes is a catalyst to a successful project
6. THINK OF THE END USER
Seeking input and ideas from end-users early in the project can assist to mitigate problems and hiccups with the implementation. Keep employees engaged by holding regular progress meetings. This will keep the project on track and address any issues delaying the project.
Training is one of the most critical phases of your implementation and will encourage the end-user to fully adopt the process. Appoint a project lead who understands the ERP system and develop a training strategy based on the needs of the end-users. Your project lead will identify others who can serve as trainers.
Change is a scary thing – people fear the unknown. Frequent and clear communication reduces the stress of the implementation for everyone and keeps them engaged. A well-planned gradual changeover can reduce employee discomfort associated with the change that a project presents. There is no such thing as over-communication for this type of organizational change and it will help to have an effective change management plan in place before the project begins. The key steps include:
- Identify all who will be affected by the change
- Communicate what changes are coming
- Establish compelling business reasons that make ERP implementation necessary
- Explain the expectations of each employee for the project to succeed
- Provide frequent project updates
8. SECURITY GOVERNANCE PLAN
Your implementation should ensure that security and cyber-security controls are in place. The lack of proper planning may result in the inability to meet regulatory requirements after go-live. Each project should have a security governance plan to identify what needs authorization and authentication to comply with organizational policies and the ever-changing data management laws such as CCPA and GDPR.
9. CLEANSE AND MIGRATE DATA
Data cleansing and migration is a critical success factor of any ERP implementation; however, people underestimate the task of data cleansing and how it affects the project. Data cleansing is a huge factor in the success of the project because it is leveraged in every phase of the operation. It is imperative that the master data is compete and correct to ensure the success of your project since it affects all phases of the implementation process including testing and training your end users. The success of your implementation from go-live and beyond is dependent on the synchronization of business data at go-live and that data must be complete and accurate.
WHAT COMES NEXT
Following these best practices yields great results as well as reduces risk and uncertainty. Auritas has a proven methodology to promote on time and on budget ERP implementations. We are flexible and willing to either lead or partner with SAP to deliver favorable results to our customers.
Auritas will work collaboratively with your organization to find the approach that best suits your needs.
If you would like to talk to one of our data and content management experts, please feel free to contact us, and we’ll be sure to get back to you at the earliest convenience.