Table of Contents
- ERP Implementation Best Practices
- Choosing the Right ERP System
- Track Your Data Before, Throughout, and After ERP Implementation
- Consider How This ERP Implementation Affects Your Current Processes
- Generate a Realistic Timeline
- Include Testing and Training in Your Timeline Projections
- Ensure Your Executive Team is on the Same Page When It Comes to ERP Implementation
- Include Your Entire Team in the ERP Implementation Process
- Consider Whether or Not You’re Really Ready to Go All-In
- Ensure the System is Preparing You for Now and for the Future
- Stages of ERP Implementation
- Final words
Implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system offers a significant chance to digitally modernise your business. Not only can you go past your legacy system’s limited functionality or outdated technology, but you can also use modern ERP system capabilities to help you capture new business prospects.
ERP Implementation Best Practices
However, not all implementations are successful. So, how can you prepare your business for a successful ERP implementation? How can you prevent unnecessary expenses and risks? These ERP deployment best practices can assist you in avoiding frequent mistakes and swiftly realise the benefits of your new ERP system.
1. Project Team
It is vital to form a good project team. An ERP implementation team typically consists of an executive sponsor, a project manager, and representatives from major business areas involved in the project. It is critical to have an executive sponsor who can modify corporate goals and bring in extra resources as needed.
The team’s tasks include:
- setting high-level goals, requirements, and key performance indicators (KPIs);
- managing the project on a daily basis, including ensuring that it stays on time and on budget;
- measuring results.
Less-resourced firms may require the assistance of an outside consultant to address these issues due to the specific knowledge required.
The team must be able to handle problems and negotiate between different groups within the organisation during the implementation. Based on user feedback and input, it may also need to form opinions about mid-stream modifications to the ERP deployment approach. As a result, team members should be both educated and well-respected inside the organisation.
2. Key Requirements
ERP implementation requires precise specifications that are linked to business goals. These objectives may include automating activities to save time and money. Other goals could include improving customer service and analysis across the organisation.
Requirements gathering includes analysing present systems, workflows, and essential business processes. To fulfil your organisation’s business goals, it is critical to collect data on what optimisation is required to improve key business functions such as accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), human resources, and inventories.
Analysing systems and discovering their weaknesses helps develop a list of important requirements that your ERP solution must meet. Delivering real-time reporting or lowering financial close time are two examples of potential requirements.
Specific KPIs can be identified when the team is aware of essential requirements. These KPIs can serve as targets for determining the effectiveness of your ERP implementation process. Defining concrete end goals and rewards can assist your team in remaining focused on the larger picture.
4. Project Management
In large corporations, ERP implementation might take anything from three months to a year or more. It is critical to create a project management structure that will steer your ERP system to success throughout the implementation process.
Project management should prioritise connecting the ERP project with business goals, keeping the project on schedule, and ensuring that senior executive managers and other parties can provide input. A big problem with ERP systems is scope creep, or the urge to add increasingly more capabilities as the project continues. Proper project management can assist in determining which enhancements can be postponed and which cannot.
The technical specifics of the ERP deployment should also be covered by project management. Said specifics include:
- how to set up the system;
- how to modify certain business processes to make use of the ERP system’s capabilities;
- how to regulate security and privacy concerns;
- how to execute training.
5. Collaboration and Communication
Successful projects are built on a mutual vision of the ERP implementation’s goals and objectives. Everyone must be on the same page, from the executives to the end users. Everyone must understand why the organisation is deploying the ERP system, what the system will accomplish, what benefits it will provide, and what to expect during the implementation.
To achieve this shared understanding, good communication and a collaborative culture is required. To underline the importance of the initiative, the CEO and management should be involved. Presentations, charts, graphs, and regular letters or blog postings from the CEO may all be used in communication. It may be necessary to hold regular meetings and phone conversations to coordinate activities, identify problems and difficulties, and share triumphs.
Because ERP deployment may have an impact on business partners, distributors, and customers, it’s a good idea to keep them updated throughout the process and help them understand how the adjustments will affect them.
6. Data Migration
Data migration to the ERP system is a vital step in the deployment that necessitates proper preparation and planning. There is always the danger of losing or damaging data during migration, especially in the process of data integration and standardisation from multiple applications.
Whether to migrate data manually or employ special tools to manage the procedure is a critical choice during an ERP setup. Each can provide benefits.
Manually importing data into a new system allows you to purge outdated information, such as providers that have left the business and customers who haven’t ordered in years. Automation, on the contrary, has the potential to make the process considerably faster and less laborious.
Whatever method you employ, it is critical to verify the information after migration to confirm that it was accurately moved to the new system.
It is unrealistic to expect employees to be skilled with the new ERP system straight away. Providing training tailored to the needs of various groups and jobs can help users adopt the solution and get the most out of it.
One option is to let employees and others choose the content that is most relevant to their jobs from an array of specialised videos and tutorials. It is also critical to give hands-on training to help employees learn the system.
Certain businesses have discovered that selecting some users for early, thorough training and using them to assist others by sharing their skills and talents is a great practice.
A go-live date is cause for celebration. However, once users start using the system, they are bound to run into problems and have questions. It is prudent to plan for it ahead of time by providing a variety of resources.
First and foremost, technical assistance will be required. This could include help desk support, an online knowledge base, and forums to help individuals get started.
Second, the project team must keep an eye out for possible problems and challenges. When a large number of people make the same mistake, it’s usually an indicator that there’s an issue that must be addressed through further training or a technical update.
9. End-User Feedback
Collecting end-user feedback could be incredibly beneficial throughout the implementation phase. It can help you obtain a better understanding of how people operate, how they connect with other colleagues and clients, and the challenges they confront on a regular basis in the early stages.
These insights can be used to drive ERP deployment so that it meets the needs of actual users. Then, as a business implements the ERP system, user input can uncover issues and make suggestions for future enhancements.
Choosing the Right ERP System
Choosing a partner who understands your sector and has the right skills will make the transfer process much easier. Let’s look at some factors that are going to help you succeed in making the choice.
Track Your Data Before, Throughout, and After ERP Implementation
The importance of data integrity throughout the ERP deployment process cannot be overstated. So take care of it and track all the information at each stage of the process. You must consider what processes and policies will be implemented to ensure the accuracy of the information being submitted into the system. Then, once all of the data is in the system, it must be tracked.
It is critical to remember that an ERP plan should contain a strategy to properly archive irrelevant historical data in order to manage information and storage responsibly and to be able to retrieve data in a timely manner.
Consider How This ERP Implementation Affects Your Current Processes
It’s critical to understand that with an ERP implementation, many of your current procedures will need to be modified and/or adjusted to this new way of doing things.
If you are considering an ERP deployment, consider the following questions:
- Is your company willing to put in the effort required?
- Is it willing to adjust its culture and processes to new ways of doing things, or will it battle to adapt the system to its old ways?
If you want your ERP deployment to be a success, you must be willing to reform all of your current processes, even the ones that operate well. It takes a lot of effort at first. But it will be so much easier for you and your employees in the end, since all of your data and processes will be stored in one place.
It is critical to consider how ERP software works. Will adjustments be necessary, and how will they affect users? It is preferable to engage users in answering this question. They are the best information sources.
To truly ensure that your processes function, involve team members throughout the implementation process, not just at the end. Otherwise, processes may be inaccurate, and the wrong teams may be affected, resulting in low adoption.
Make every effort to limit the amount of process change that occurs during an update. This will reduce the risk of rejection.
Generate a Realistic Timeline
The implementation of an ERP solution will not be a quick and easy success. It’s better if you realise this at the start of the procedure.
Manage your expectations and recognise that, as with everything new, there is going to be a learning curve for both you and your staff. A phased approach to installation is recommended by many of our customers. This ensures that you are not rushing through the process and that you have enough time to implement each component correctly and adequately.
A new ERP system requires significant resources and commitment, therefore a phased approach can help ease some of this burden.
Include Testing and Training in Your Timeline Projections
It is critical to be patient during the procedure. You will have to run the testing several times. When you think you’re done, test again. Testing the system repeatedly reduces errors and ensures a smoother go-live for end users.. It is more vital to work toward a well tested system than to fulfil a timetable that does not allow for thorough testing. Anyone starting the ERP implementation process must take their time, document their procedures, and flow through the processes and steps required to get the intended result.
One must test the documentation on a regular basis by handing the instructions to someone who isn’t the main person executing the process and seeing if it can be completed. This will provide you with a backup in the event of personnel turnover..
Ensure Your Executive Team is on the Same Page When It Comes to ERP Implementation
The most crucial factor in ensuring an implementation’s success is executive support for the implementation. To ensure minimal impact on clients, the entire business must document and practise the processes in the system. This will save organisational capacity for other improvements that the firm may desire.
It is critical to secure executive buy-in, commitment, and adoption from the top down. If leadership demonstrates that this adoption is a beneficial, positive development for the company, employees will follow suit.
Include Your Entire Team in the ERP Implementation Process
It is critical not just to incorporate your CEOs, but also to include key employees and stakeholders throughout the process. Engaging the whole team in ERP system implementation is invaluable. Anyone who uses the system should be part of it..
Teamwork is essential for effective ERP installation, but it can be difficult to know which questions to ask. It’s a good idea to include sales, manufacturing, and accounting executives in the process, so they can analyse and question how the new system will affect their respective departments.
After all, ERP is a method of managing your company’s internal operations, and you must ensure that everyone involved is aware of this. It demands cooperation and perseverance.
Every employee must understand what modules and departments feed their module, as well as how what they enter into the system delivers and instructs the next employee/department to accomplish their work.
Consider Whether or Not You’re Really Ready to Go All-In
This type of approach will only function if your organisation is truly committed to making it work. So, if you’re hesitant to deploy, or attempt to bend the ERP system to match the shape of your old procedures rather than the other way around, the implementation will fail.
You must be willing to make changes to your company’s culture, processes, and approach. As we previously stated, change is difficult, but it gets even more difficult when you are unable to fully commit to both significant and tiny alterations.
Ascertain that everyone is on board and that there is a commitment. You can have the best software, but if there is no dedication to making it work, you will get no better results than you do now. Employee involvement is as important as management buy-in.
Ensure the System is Preparing You for Now and for the Future
You must examine this implementation from every viewpoint. This is the software that will power your firm in the near future. You must guarantee that your business practices are flexible and/or that the software is flexible because it will not always match what you are currently doing. Consider where you see your firm in 10, 15 years and what kinds of activities you’d like to be doing.
Can the software evolve alongside you? Is the software vendor always inventing and adding new features? How frequently do they release new versions, and what is your upgrading path – is it genuinely feasible? Or will you be forced to use an older version due to a variety of factors?
Stages of ERP Implementation
Here is a set of steps to take in order for the implementation to be effective. Because every firm is different, you will need to develop a strategy and establish key performance indicators (KPIs). These suggested activities, however, are essential components of all successful ERP systems.
- Consider what you want: software as a service or a custom solution;
- Choose a trustworthy software partner;
- Compile the activity plan with all the tasks included;
- Estimate the number of working hours/man days required for staffing;
- Make a schedule;
- Conduct a pilot test;
- Cleanse all data and everything that is possible into a single database;
- Maintain open lines of communication with your team.
You will most certainly have a number of ERP systems to pick from, depending on your organisation’s demands and budget. Many businesses choose cloud-based ERP systems because they are quicker and faster to adopt and do not require capital investment in hardware.
However, the outcomes you achieve will be determined by how you apply the system as well as the product you select. Using best practices of ERP implementation throughout the process, from requirements definition through support, can help ensure a successful implementation that adds the most value to your organisation.
The Bamboo Agile team can follow the whole ERP implementation process through every step. From pre-development consulting and ERP development to maintenance and enhancements – the team of professionals will be there to assist in ERP implementation. To start your journey with Bamboo Agile, contact us to book a free consultation and discuss your business needs.
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