Your organization is on the brink of adopting an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a move that promises to transform every facet of your operations. The journey of an ERP Implementation is intricate, demanding commitment and a keen focus on detail to ensure every department benefits.

By meticulously planning and executing against well-defined goals and a comprehensive scope, you can effectively dodge obstacles and secure a successful outcome. However, diving headfirst without a thorough grasp of the project’s many layers can lead to significant challenges during and after the ERP rollout.

In this three-part series, we’re set to explore the critical stages of an ERP project, unpacking everything you need to know about ERP systems, best practices for change management and training, and adapting to new business workflows.

Let’s start with some fundamental questions.

What Exactly is an ERP Implementation and Its Benefits?

An ERP system unifies various business functions into a cohesive platform, providing a single source of truth for your organization. It spans finance and accounting, sales and distribution, manufacturing and inventory management, and more, streamlining data and processes to boost productivity and automate tasks.

The implementation journey shapes the system’s success or failure. It demands months of preparation, from understanding the business requirements and configuring the software to training your team, emphasizing the importance of detailed planning and deployment.

Stages of an ERP Implementation

Given the unique nature of every organization, your ERP plan will be tailor-made. Typically, a project unfolds across several phases, each with its objectives:

  • Initial Phase: Sets the groundwork with clear goals and objectives that will define a successful implementation.
  • Planning Phase: Critical for detail-oriented planning, echoing Benjamin Franklin’s warning about the cost of failure to plan. If you can’t measure the deliverables you cannot manage the success of completion or mitigate risks affectively.
  • Execution and Control: Once you have a plan in place, it needs to be set in motion. This phase focuses on managing the myriad components of the project, ensuring alignment with the plan.
  • Closure: Going live withy our new ERP is not the end but merely the beginning of your digital transformation journey. This phase involves supporting, troubleshooting, training, and continuous improvement of your new investment.

The Initial Phase: Kick-Starting the Journey

After concluding your research, advocating for an ERP, and selecting a skilled integration partner like aclaros, the Initial Phase begins. This stage involves clearly defining the challenges the ERP will solve, setting project objectives, and allocating resources for the rollout.

ERP Implementation Phases

Your team will delve into understanding your business’s inefficiencies, defining roles, crafting a project plan with milestones, assigning resources, and managing the project.

The Significance of the Initial Phase

This phase is pivotal for assembling the project team, documenting processes, and setting clear, actionable goals, serving as the project’s compass.

Securing buy-in from executives and staff for the necessary time, budget, and deadlines is crucial for success. The Initial Phase also focuses on:

  • Preventing delays and retaining momentum by setting realistic timelines and resources.
  • Gaining executive support to navigate obstacles and setting the importance of the project at the organizational level.
  • Deciding on your technology and deployment strategy.
  • Selecting the appropriate ERP system for your organization from a reputable vendor.
  • Allocating resources across the organizations that are sufficient for the success of the implementation.

Considering a priority matrix can also be beneficial, balancing potential business value against implementation challenges.

Triple constraint used in ERP Implementations to understand the trade-off against quality, cost and tieline.
The Triple Constraint in project management outlines the balance between cost, quality, and speed, highlighting that changes to one affect the others.
This prioritization  matrix  helps organizations decide which deliverables and functions should be included in the scope of the project.
This categorization helps in allocating resources effectively and aligning projects with strategic objectives, ensuring that efforts are directed towards initiatives that offer the best return on investment.

The Planning Phase: A Blueprint for Success

True to Benjamin Franklin’s words, the Planning Phase is where you lay the groundwork for your ERP project. This stage is about foreseeing and managing challenges through meticulous planning, unique to your organization’s needs.

What to Expect:

  • A detailed project plan crafted with input from various stakeholders to guide scheduling, budgeting, and resource allocation
  • A baseline against which the project will be measured to be able to determine if you are going to meet the project milestones.
  • Formation of a skilled team crucial for a smooth implementation across all business areas.
  • Sourcing of hardware and all software required for the roll out of the entire scope of the project

Team Composition:

The team will vary based on your specific needs, including project managers, implementation partners, consultants, and internal stakeholders from various departments, all chosen for their decision-making capacity and alignment with the project’s goals.

The planning stage, rich with elements like requirements gathering and ongoing support, sets the stage for a successful ERP implementation.

To dive deeper into the Initial and Planning Phases and enhance your ERP project, download our comprehensive guide or contact us to discuss how we can meet your needs.

About the Author

Irenae Jacobs