The benefits of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can include robust security, streamlined processes, forecasting and reporting, mobility, and cost effectiveness. However, ERP implementations are far from a cakewalk.
Most ERP implementations take more time and money than expected. This is because many companies start off without a well-thought out plan for ERP implementation. Despite the enormous vendor hype surrounding ERP implementation, and its projected benefits, you must be realistic about your expectations. Implementing an enterprise software like ERP across all of your business verticals at the same time is no small feat. You have to keep in mind that you are trying to alter the day-to-day routine of almost all your employees; so, they will have doubts too. You have to navigate all these issues and bring them together if you are to reap the most value from your ERP investment.
We've covered how to choose the best ERP software for your business and the top 5 ERP implementation best practices in previous blogs. In this article, we will look to explore 5 things your ERP implementation plan must contain, and how to go about executing it.
1) A Project Team
While building your ERP implementation team, you're better off delegating your workload to specific individuals or groups to increase accountability. We recommend a core team of four members who can be assigned as follows:
- Project Manager - give overall direction
- Application Analyst - help with data cleaning and migration
- Developer - any customization required on the software
- QA Tester - test before going live
2) A Budget with Cost Forecasting
According to a survey of companies by Panorama research, ERP implementation costs run over budget a staggering 56% of the time. This is because most companies run with the software license cost as base and do not take into account other costs like hardware or network upgrades, staff overtime, data backups, customization, and training fees. Your ERP budget should forecast all kinds of expenses you might encounter during your roll-out. If you’re working with a managed service provider, they can help you with the accounting side of it, too.
3) Change Management
All too often, companies put all of their focus on the IT side of an enterprise system and ignore the people factor. No two businesses are alike, and even if your vendor tells you the software is tailor-made for your organization, chances are that you are likely to need some time for educating end users in managing this change. An effective communications plan and organizational gap analysis, with a projected benefits plan, goes a long way in building a proper change management strategy.
4) Training for Everyone
We recommend a training schedule for all the other employees other than your core project team who will be involved in the daily usage of the system to ensure a smooth transition. Your implementation plan must have room for training and guiding these employees to get maximum use of the system. Remember, the amount of value you can derive from your ERP system is directly proportional to the number of your end-users using the system to its full potential.
5) A Maintenance Plan
ERP implementation is complicated and it takes time to do it right. But, the work hardly stops once you have completed your initial roll-out. Your company needs to create a clear maintenance plan on how users continually tweak and update your system, so that your new system does not become obsolete.
ProV is a global IT service delivery company specializing in ERP implementation, especially for small and medium sized enterprises, who often lack the requisite knowledge, resources, time, and expertise to ensure a smooth rollout. We follow up with best-in-class implementation techniques that save you money and time, and contribute to a higher ROI than you imagined. To learn more about how we use technology to simplify business processes and make organizations more agile, drop a comment below or contact us today.