7 Steps to Successful ERP Implementation

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If you are in the market for a new or upgraded ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution, you’ll want to prepare for success. Here are seven useful steps that can lead your team to a successful ERP implementation:

1. Communicate a clear vision

If you are tasked with heading your ERP implementation team, you’ll need the support of both your superiors and your employees. It’s important to communicate a clear vision of what the new ERP will do for your company both immediately and in the future. Executives want to know that the expenditure will be worth it and when they can expect to see a return on their investment. Because change in procedures can be difficult for some employees, it’s important that they understand the benefits of the system as it pertains to their individual jobs as well as to the entire company and its goals. Having a clear vision and maintaining focus will help keep your project on track and prevent scope creep.

2. Keep everyone involved

Your management team and your employees who will work with the system day to day know your business processes best. Configuring the system to your needs should be a collaborative effort. Your implementation partner will use your feedback, but they can’t read your minds. Take an active interest. Get involved in the test phase, and be sure that all users are familiar with the system before it ever goes live.

3. Choose a champion and an implementation team

Assign one member of your team to lead the implementation project and work together with your implementation partner. Your champion does not have to be an IT expert, but they should have good technical skills and understand your organization’s business processes completely. They should also know your staff and have good interpersonal skills. Your champion should have decision-making authority. It will be necessary for your champion to understand the priority of this role and be prepared to spend a lot of their time on it. So, it may be necessary to assign others to cover some of the champion’s daily work for the duration of the project.  Your champion will assemble an implementation team by choosing representatives from each major business area who know their department processes well. Team members need to commit 20-30% of their time, so it may be necessary to redistribute some workloads or hire temporary employees.

4. Document your processes

Senior company managers are not always familiar with their company’s processes, which may have changed over time. Before you begin your ERP selection process, take the time to really understand your procedures, and document them. This documentation will help you to select and design the system that is best for your business.

5. Be flexible

Ask why your business processes are what they are and don’t accept “because we've always done it that way” as an answer. Your company may have come up with unusual workarounds because of the limitations of your current systems. The processes in your new system might be different than what you are used to, but before you go through the time, effort, and expense to change them, find out if they will work for you. There may be a significant advantage to changing your company’s procedures, rather than changing the software workflow.

6. Solicit input from all user groups

You can’t fulfill the wish list of every employee but ask for input from all users. Allowing them a voice will build buy-in and identify potential problems early so you can work on solutions. Be sure everyone understands that a new ERP solution will affect the entire organization, and user adoption will not be optional. Be sure to address the needs of all user groups.

7. Manage organizational change

Don’t underestimate how intimidating change can be for some people. Communication is the key to success. Highly praise the benefits of the system and share the vision and goals of the project. Talk to your least comfortable people; listen to their concerns and try to address them. Be honest. If there are concerns you can’t immediately address, communicate what the plans are to solve them and when. Schedule plenty of training time for end users.

A new ERP implementation represents a great change, and yours can be successful. InterDyn Artis has over 30 years guiding companies through the process. If you want to learn more about how to manage and lead the people in your organization through this process, contact our implementation experts at InterDyn Artis.

By InterDyn Artis, www.interdynartis.com

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