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Your organization is considering an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
The implementation of such a system is a complex commitment that will impact every division of your business.
Careful planning and execution of clearly defined objectives and a detailed scope will greatly help to minimize obstacles and maximize success.
But plunging into an implementation without first having a complete understanding of all aspects of the project will increase the probability of encountering significant issues during and after your ERP has been implemented.
In this three-part series, we’ll dive into the key phases of an implementation project, what you need to understand about an ERP, the best practices for everything related to change management and training, and how to adapt to new business processes.
Before we jump in, let’s take a look at a few initial questions.
What is an ERP implementation and why is it beneficial for an organization?
An ERP system integrates numerous business-related functions across the entire organization and creates a single source of truth. Functions include human capital management, accounting and financial management, sales and marketing, manufacturing, warehousing, and supply chain management. By implementing ERP software, your data and business processes are easily accessible and better managed while increasing productivity and efficiency across the board and supporting and automating manual functions.
The process of implementing a system of this nature will determine success or a failure; an organization needs to commit several months to supporting the new system including training employees, so precise planning for configuration and deployment are key.
What are the Stages of an ERP Implementation?
Organizations are unique and their needs will differ, so the details of your ERP implementation plan will be designed specifically for you. But a typical project will include several phases, each with specific objectives. These phases include:
The Initial Phase: Let’s Get Started!
Once your preliminary research has concluded, you’ve made the business case for an ERP, and you’ve chosen an experienced ERP systems integration partner like aclaros, the work of the Initial Phase can begin and can include the following:
Your project team will, in addition to other needs, want to know the ins-and-outs of your business (understand process inefficiencies and requirements for the ERP system), define and manage a wide-ranging list of roles (including a detailed analysis of existing workflows for users), design the project plan with target milestones, ensure the right resources are assigned, and provide project management throughout the entire process.
The important of the Initial Phase
While there is expected to be repetitive tasks across and between phases, the Initial Phase emphasizes the assembly of the project team, documentation development and identifying current issues and solutions and outlining clear concrete goals—a guide for the entire project.
Convincing the executive branch and your organization’s employees to commit to the required time, funding, and timelines can be a challenge, but its paramount to success. The Initial Phase will help to:
Also consider using a priority matrix that offsets the potential business value to the organization:
The Planning Phase: “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.”
The words of Benjamin Franklin are fitting and absolutely true, especially in terms of the planning stage of an ERP implementation project. When making the move to a new ERP system, experience dictates that there will be numerous foreseeable and unavoidable challenges.
Once you’ve decided on the right software, dedicating a sufficient amount of time and effort is required on planning—and doing it the right way. Although the process may be similar across ERP Implementations there will be uniqueness, since the goals you identify will be unique to your organization. Planning will help to mitigate risk by establishing a clear baseline to ensure time, scope and effort are managed properly.
What can you expect from this stage?
Creating your team of qualified, efficient, and dedicated people is key to this stage—this will ensure your job is made much easier and your implementation goes as smoothly as possible across all lines of business.
Who will be included on your team?
Who is selected to be on the team will largely depend on your specific needs—given the nature of ERP implementations and the benefits and features the system will provide, the make-up of a team will vary from organization to organization depending on what functions are being implementing. Expect to include these resources:
The planning stage has many more elements—requirements gathering, training staff, on-going and post go-live support, and so much more.
To help you understand and learn more about the Initial Phase and Planning Phase and how to improve your ERP implementation—to establish clarity, maximize efficiency, mitigate risk, and get the most out of your ERP—download our complete guide or drop us a line, so we can discuss your needs further.