8 Step Strategy for Successful ERP Implementation

An ERP implementation strategy involves setting up the software, moving your data over to a new ERP system and configuring the business processes for users. Having the right partner for implementing an ERP system is almost as important as choosing the proper ERP software itself.

The current competitive environment of the business world requires that organizations not only innovate but optimize the existing operations. An organization needs to collect relevant data from each business function to analyze it in detail and identify the gaps in their strategies. However, a business is based on so many functions and there is a significant amount of data. Managing so many data can become difficult so it is required that software is used that can efficiently collect data from several operations.

Before we view the implementation procedure in more detail, it is very important to choose the right ERP software. The excepted results of implementing ERP should provide streamlined operations, easy-to-use functionality, a real-time view of your business anytime and anywhere on any device, as well as an ERP platform that isn’t only secure but adaptable to ever-changing requirements.

Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) systems are large, is designed to guide, and help to handle nearly all section of a strong and, in many instances, incorporate the firm’s interior processes with business preparation and execution activities of customers and vendors.

ERP Implementation takes the following steps:

  • The complexity of system implementation
  • Production environment volume
  • Amount of business processes to configure
  • The degree of Automation needed to process the tasks
  • Current IT Infrastructure and ERP implementations fit with it.

8 Step ERP Implementation Strategy

  1. Define Demands – Outline the business requirements, build UX prototypes and have a design-led development approach so that the user can feel the UX navigation before working on the real system.
  2. Evaluate – Evaluate the requirements to see if they are an ideal fit for your organization. The goal is to strive for simplicity and reach out for a good simple working solution rather than an ideal solution.
  3. Document User Procedures – Use UX prototype walkthroughs to evaluate.
  4. Big Bang or Phased Approach – ERP Implementation strategies include Big Bang, Phased, Hybrid, and Parallel Adoption. Each organization requirements are different and as such, the project management method is itself evolving using PPM, SCRUM, and DevOps. Choose the idea fit to execute the project and consider, evaluate and discuss all the possible options.
  5. Consider Customization Alternatives Carefully – Define  “what if situations” – The goal assumes that everything will fail and plan for that failure.
  6. Choose the Right Project Leader – Consider and evaluate the implementation partners. Having a right experienced implementation partner will bring past ERP implementation experiences and can make you aware of potential pitfalls.
  7. Don’t Forget Mobile Users
  8. Allocate Sufficient Time and Resources for Training

When companies finally decide on the ERP implementation, the first question they ask is what is the project management methodology to be adopted in order to have a successful ERP implementation. Two approaches are primarily used for ERP implementation, which is either Waterfall methodology or agile development or a blend of both. Always choose Agile, It drives the execution quicker and at the same time you wind up knowing all the process blocks and pitfalls and target then as and when they arise as opposed to waiting to address them all at that time that is same.

Stages of ERP Implementation process are as follows:

  • Discovery – comprises of processes that help determine the need, vision, scope of the task, and obtain a commitment from the customer to continue.
  • Plan & Monitor – Consists of processes that involve developing a method to complete the work, also as a means to measure the progress and take needed corrective actions. This happens through the entire process of the implementation.
  • Analyze – Business Process Requirement gathering and analysis of the current IT business processes
  • Build – Start development and Stabilize – Consists of a group of processes to ensure a solution meets the client’s requirements and is ready for full deployment to a manufacturing environment
  • Deploy – Processes that will deploy all ERP developments to the production environment.
  • Post Go Live – Initial go-live will bring its own set of bugs which were not thought of during the original design phase… so, in essence, wait for the dust to settle down and fix any bugs.

The right implementation should also ensure that the team is able to effectively function in the newly implemented ERP environment very well and can also adapt and improve new business processes.

There is no one size fits all solution when implementing ERP.

There are many ways to implement an ERP system. Regrettably, there is not one answer, each company has goals and methods, requirements, periods, etc. The two most popular ERP implementation strategies are “the big bang” ERP implementation strategy together with “phased- rollout” ERP implementation strategy.  Each situation is different and the aim is to build a better Implementation strategy than what is known and what is available considering all the factors and choices laid out.

Tips for ERP Implementation

Customized ERP Solutions

There are many software solutions available that can be used for ERP implementation but each one has different features. Many organizations complain about how certain features are useless to them and that the existing ERP solutions they are using don’t completely match their business needs. In order to overcome this problem, many organizations began to buy customized software. Now, customized ERP solutions are more expensive than ready-made ones. However, ERP implementation is more cost effective this way. You buy one solution which matches all your specific business needs instead of buying several. Customized ERP solutions can also easily be evolved as business needs and requirements change.

Realistic ERP Implementation

ERP implementation can do wonders for your business. These solutions help you streamline the different on-going processes. However, regardless of being an integrated set of applications, ERP solutions are applied to both the front and back end of your organization. Therefore, you won’t be able to see a positive change very soon. Instead, ERP implementation is going to work gradually but effectively. In the long run, you will be better prepared for what changes you might have to make in your organization to catch up with the changing trends of the external environment. Moreover, it is very important to work with an ERP expert to have better results from your ERP implementation.

ERP Implementation and Staff

Proper application of ERP solutions is not enough if you don’t have adequate staff to manage ERP projects. In the end, ERP implementation is just a set of computer technologies but the main asset of the organization is employees. A project is ultimately dependent on the team working on it. ERP solutions are going to help streamline and optimize the projects but the employees working on the specific project need to be focused as well. It may work in the favor of the business if these employees are exempted from some of the normal job duties so they can focus better on the demands of the project. It is significant to have a strong team lead for ERP projects who can facilitate communication and eliminate problems.

Steps for Effective ERP Implementation

ERP implementation can produce positive results and good profit for the organization in the long run but ERP solutions need to be implemented efficiently to see the effectiveness.

Plan->Review->Collect data->Test->Evaluate

Planning Strategically

Nothing works without proper planning. You can’t start a project without knowing what outcomes you are expecting and assigning resources to it. When you plan a project, it needs comprehensive input. You need to know the financials involved, you need managers, and you need marketing and more. Therefore, you need employees from the respective functions to carry out different tasks involved in the project. The objectives of the project should be known so that what you can plan accordingly.

Reviewing the Processes

You can’t complete a project if you don’t have the required resources. This includes that you review the ability of your available software in order to determine if it is sufficient. Some steps of the project may need to be completed manually and it is required to automate them with the ERP system. Furthermore, the company needs to review Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This is not a small task but is vital for effective ERP implementation.

Data Collection

When you start collecting data, you might need to convert some of it in case it has become outdated. New data can be organized in forms of spreadsheets and most ERP systems can upload information from spreadsheets into their database. Collected data should be reviewed for its validity and correction, and add the sources of collected data as well. Furthermore, it is important to shed irrelevant data, for example, eliminating the information of customers who no longer purchase from the business.

Testing and Training

Once you have set up an ERP solution, it is suggested to test run it in order to determine if processes are working the way you wanted. You can verify the accuracy of the ERP solution by comparing them with the SOPs if your business. Identify the areas where modifications might be needed. On the other hand, the team members working on the project should be trained to utilize the solution. Regular training helps keep up with updates in the software.

Evaluation

Once the ERP implementation is up and working, evaluate the first results you get. Evaluation is just like an appraisal. You need to match the outcome with the objectives you set before beginning. Moreover, compare the results from your previous projects that you might have completed without ERP implementation. In this way, you can know what difference did you get.

ERP implementation is becoming more common as the business world gets more competitive. The practice of using ERP solutions is common in large organizations where there are more functions and a significant amount of data. Streamlined operations are supposed to produce better results and more overall profit because projects are completed making informed decisions. Many best practices related to ERP implementation can be observed but every business has different needs. Therefore, implementing ERP solutions effectively requires that you first define your specific goals and objectives. Moreover, you need ERP experts to monitor the implementation regardless of having customized or ready-made ERP software.

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