The implementation process is long and complex and requires the coordination of many moving parts, such as management commitment, the project team, and the budget. And the outcomes vary based on these factors.
Having assisted in over 500+ ERP implementations, here are the factors that we think are the top success factors.
ERP implementation is a complex project that requires proper planning, execution, and management support to ensure success. The best practices in ERP implementation take the following aspects into account.
ERP implementation is successful when it completes on time, on budget, and works the way you want. And for that, you will need to define the project strategy.
Project strategy comprises the overall plan for your implementation project. It entails who will be involved, how you approach each deployment phase, and your business requirements. It should also include timelines for each stage of the project.
You will need to establish clear goals and objectives and identify stakeholders. A good project strategy should be broad enough to impact while still being specific enough to help guide the project through its various stages.
This is also where you will identify processes you want to improve or automate. Here are some tips:
Outline exactly what you intend to achieve by deploying an ERP solution
Define who will benefit from implementing an ERP solution in your organization
Identify the risks associated with ERP implementation, including those if the project gets delayed or halted.
Highlight the major milestones and deliverables so you can track the progress.
Identify dependencies you have on different teams, like IT teams and ERP consultants.
Implementing an ERP would impact your company's operations by streamlining the processes, integrating every department, and automating tedious processes. Therefore, it is critical that the management team understands its importance and commits to it.
Ensuring their support and understanding throughout the process will ensure an ongoing working relationship and that everyone is on board with what you're trying to achieve.
The first step in building management support for your ERP system is communicating why it's needed. You should do this at a high level, explaining the business value of an ERP system and how this will benefit your organization.
If you've already conducted a gap analysis and identified areas that need improvement, this should form the basis of your explanation - which brings us to the next point.
You must define the project scope to get the most out of ERP. This is where you document your business objectives, so you can customize the software, keeping your company’s objectives in mind. Also, identify the tools you want to integrate with the ERP.
Follow these best practices for defining project scope in ERP implementation:
Develop a detailed list of requirements for all aspects of your business, including information about users’ needs and how they will interact with their system once it is up and running.
Consider how your future requirements, such as adopting new technologies, can be met down the road.
Identify what aspects are not in scope but might be a good fit for future releases.
Identify tools and legacy applications you would retire and how the ERP would replace them (including training).
Identify what data you will integrate into the ERP. Ensure it is accurate and up-to-date.
The next step is to create a project team to manage the entire implementation process. It should include full-time personnel (from different departments), ERP consultants, and a project manager.
People from different departments will provide subject expertise for project-specific decisions and ensure the system makes things seamless for them.
Here are some best practices to follow when creating a project team:
The core team should know your business processes and ERP implementation well.
Identify subject experts from every department so they can suggest improvement areas.
Ensure each member has unique skill sets so as not to overlap too much, or you’ll see a dip in productivity in your day-to-day job operations.
You will also need IT expertise, depending on your deployment method (cloud or on-premise).
Decide how the team will work together: remotely or in an office. If you choose the latter, you’d need your ERP consultant to be available. For instance, if your office is in Dubai, you’d want to choose an ERP team available in the UAE, even if you work remotely (so they can get together if need be).
Management and communication are two sides of the same coin. Without effective communication, management can lose sight of project objectives and milestones. Without clear goals and expectations, managers can't properly assess the value of an ERP implementation.
Here are some best practices to follow:
Create a clear communication plan, including how often the management will get progress reports.
Continue to document all the changes, including the benefits those modifications will bring.
Consider hiring a third-party administrator to oversee the entire process to ensure everything runs smoothly.
For training, you should:
Keep learners engaged by presenting material in small bites of information
Provide relevant examples and case studies from actual users
Create business drivers for each module so employees can see how they fit into the big picture
Provide adequate time for learning and practice so that employees can apply what they learned
Ensure you have the training materials documented so new employees can get through the system quickly.
Most ERP systems implement industry-specific best practices to help you streamline processes and leverage data for better decisions. However, you can tailor the system to meet your company’s specific needs with some customization and modifications.
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide who will be responsible for the customization. So, again, it’s a good idea to involve every department to identify if they need anything to be tailored.
Here are some things to consider when customizing the ERP:
Study what other companies have customized to determine their relevance to your business. Then, prioritize them according to your goals and vision.
Define what you expect from the customization and how you will measure its success
Document the process so you can refer to it even after a few months.
The budget is a critical component of any ERP implementation. A realistic budget will ensure that you don’t overspend. Your budget should be based on a detailed project plan, updated regularly as the project progresses, and reviewed by key stakeholders.
It’s important to remember that even with the best intentions and planning, unexpected things can happen during an ERP implementation. It could be as minimal as delays in hiring new employees or changes in technology requirements—that could require additional funds above and beyond what you originally planned for your implementation.
Senior-level managers and executives usually manage a good project closure strategy in an organization. It is also when they validate the success and ensure that all identified risks are mitigated.
You should meet all deliverables before you can declare a successful completion of your ERP implementation project.
The final key success factors to consider are:
Test the system: Test if it works the way you want it. You will want to take a little time to analyze all the functionalities and if your employees are facing issues.
Identify improvements: Look for immediate feedback from early users to implement any changes that’ll improve the overall system.
Prepare for transfer: Move the old systems to the ERP and train everyone on the changes.
Create a post-live support center: Until your employees understand the tool completely, offer them all the help they need. You can do this by ensuring the implementation team is available round the clock for assistance.
ERP implementation is not as difficult as it seems. With the right plan and team, you can overcome the challenges and ensure everything goes as planned.
Let’s discuss how FirstBit ERP can streamline your operations, and our experts can help you with these eight factors!
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