In our first post in our three-part series on the steps needed for a successful ERP implementation, we introduced you to the first two phases:

  • Initial Phase: Focus is on laying the ground work and making fundamental decisions that will provide a strong foundation for the future.
  • Planning Phase: Setting a baseline to measure against to determine the success of a project while taking into consideration all known constraints and making provisions for unknown issues. 

Once the implementation plans have been established and resources have been properly allocated to the project, the Execution Phase puts the plan for the ERP implementation into action. The focus of this phase is to ensure that the deliverables and goals from the planning phase of the implementation are being executed as planned. Since the best-laid plans can often come across a few obstacles, it is imperative that proper controls are put in place to measure the status of the project against the baseline. 

The key objectives of the Execution Phase include:

  • Creating and implementing deliverables outlined in the project plan,
  • Communicating updates to all project stakeholders with respect to progress and any deviations, 
  • Documenting, approving, and controlling all changes to the project plan against the baseline.

There are a lot of moving parts in this phase, so careful attention to detail will be required. But if the project plan has been clearly defined, the primary focus should be to ensure that design, configuration, and change management are properly controlled.

Effective communications

Your enterprise and its implementation partners need to ensure a clear and structured communication plan is in place for the entirety of an implementation plan—it will play a significant role in the success of this stage and others. After all, you’ve invested plenty of resources, time, and money, so you should expect nothing less than smooth delivery of your ERP, one that meets milestones, ensures proper and detailed scope management, and safeguards your budget and investment. 

Implementing a new business system can be a challenge, but it will mean enormous, positive changes to your enterprise. In our experience, successful ERP implementations succeed with the help of practicality and perception when it comes to change management—creating a positive environment for understanding and embracing innovation. 

A few best practices to consider include:

  • Get your corporate leaders to engage with employees—getting updates from the CEO or other C-suite level individuals will show how important the implementation of an ERP system is to your enterprise. 
  • Ensure the messages are easy to understand— Keep the language oriented to the impacts of the business and less to the technical achievements
  • Use a variety of channels to share information—email, virtual events, corporate intranet, and monthly townhalls to name a few.
  • Communicate regularly and frequently—keep stakeholders and employees informed, so that everyone will be engaged and familiar with what’s happening and what’s to come.

Change management 

Effective change management is key to a successful ERP implementation. This is all about communicating changes and providing all parties with the opportunities to receive practical experience with the changes. To ensure these practice sessions are effective, a productive and extensive training plan must be developed and deployed for all users of the system.

A recent report by Google with respect to change management found:

  • 135%: A well-prepared change program can deliver a “135% positive return on investment and result in a more fulfilling workplace.”
  • 67%: Change champions play a crucial role, according to 67% of respondents who had change champions and whose projects successfully delivered against quantifiable objectives.
  • 69%: The majority of executives who considered their programs successful (69%) offered training before and after go-live.

Managing change can be tough, but ensuring agreement on what factors most influence transformation initiatives will reduce problems.

In part three of this series, we’ll conclude with a look at the details involved in the Closure Phase and final stage of the project that brings your ERP implementation to a close.

To help you understand and learn more about the Execution Phase and how to improve your ERP implementation, download our complete guide or drop us a line, so we can discuss your needs further.

About the Author

Irenae Jacobs