Managing Expectations in Your Move to ERP

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Enterprise resource planning ERPIt's not shocking that change can be difficult. Or is it? Take for example, you're trying to live a healthier lifestyle. You take yourself out to buy new workout clothes and equipment, you anticipate what your future self will be. One day you're able to get to the gym, the next day you wake up more sore than you ever thought you could be. You struggle to walk down the stairs, but you still manage to push through. A week in, you recognize the sacrifices you have to make to get to your where you want to be in the future. Now is where the decision has to be made, push through to create a habit or fall to the negativity.

Now you are probably curious as to why a company that has expertise in enterprise resource planning implementations is discussing becoming healthy, but there is a purpose for this: The pathway to implement a new business management software is not very different.

Avoiding Pitfalls on the Journey to New ERP

Avoiding Pitfalls on journey to new erpIf you’re on the journey to a new ERP system—whether that’s to replace an outdated, legacy application or to upgrade from an entry-level solution like QuickBooks—you’re making a huge change to your business.

A couple of you could probably run a marathon or ride century tomorrow, but you need the right body for this. A couple of companies could double in size in a year with their current solution, but you need the right solution for this. The promises of accuracy, automation, and improved access to information could lead to excitement, but the implementation has the same pitfalls.

Notably, the statistics on IT initiatives tell a dire story: “over 70% of technology implementations fail.”  And not because the technology itself is flawed, but because the change process was not handled well, if at all.

Similar to becoming healthy, it can be quite easy to move from the uninformed optimism to the informed pessimism during an ERP project at your organization. You begin to recognize how different things can be, the discomforts might start, you find small processes you might have forgotten about, and in comes the delays. The entire project starts to rattle similar to a train coming off the tracks.

How to Avoid Failure and Desperation on Your Move to ERP

There is hope. Successful ERP projects happen all the time. It just takes work, understanding, and preparation. Here are a few tips on making the move, keeping people on board, and ultimately succeeding on your implementation.

Talk… And Listen.

ConversationERP is by nature a broad-based user tool. Your project team should have adequate representation from all areas of the business – engineering, materials, production, finance, customer service, etc. in addition to IT.

A common mistake in a big change is ignoring the input. When you have a recurring knee injury, you might be curious to understanding how to stabilize it. This is similar to your project. Nobody wants to feel as though they are being ignored or being dragged along for the ride, and the biggest need is input from the user groups to learn what tasks they want to solve and how a product has the ability to solve them.

An awareness of ownership is essential to success, and the users have to be included from the beginning and should begin the effort in choosing the system and carrying or planning out the implantation.

Find a Cheerleader (Executive Sponsor) and an Accountability Buddy (Project Leader)

The only thing more difficult than forcing yourself to go to the gym—is attempting to do it alone. This can be more difficult when you do not have someone with you to assist and maintain the vision. As you approach an ERP project, you need the same kind of people within your company: An Executive Sponsor and a Project Leader.

Each role is unique. The executive sponsor is in place to provide moral support, offering leadership, vision, motivation, and conflict resolution when needed. Throughout the implementation process, the executive sponsor reinforces the project vision, reminding everyone about the benefits each department and person will see upon go-live.

Paired with this, your project leader is there to keep everything organized and moving forward. This person should know and understand your business, have management skills, and be a good communicator. He or she is your accountability person, the person who keeps your company moving forward and taking steps in the right direction.

Find an Expert (Your Implementation Partner)

Crestwood AssociatesIf you are in the process of becoming healthy, you are quite aware how difficult it can be from day 1 to day 100. Often times, you could walk into the gym and become quite overwhelmed by the number of people and all of the machines, finally you will find what you are comfortable with, even if it is not best for your goals.

Ultimately, this is the reason gyms often offer advice of a trainer or an initial consultation. These are the people there that want to assist you in achieving your personal goals and the best processes to achieve this.

Similar to a great personal trainer, your implementation partner has to be there to do the same thing. Learn what you want, your explanation for how you want them to help you achieve your goal, and

Like any good personal trainer, your implementation partner is there to do the same thing. Get to know what you want, explain how they are going to help you get there, and do what they can to get you from point A to point B. These groups understand how your business operates and how the new system will support your objectives, and are there to develop a plan and answer questions.

ERP Implementations aren’t Easy—Work with Someone Who Knows How to Make Them Work.

Creating an ERP project is not simple, so do not let anyone tell you otherwise because it is not any different than a Facebook friend who is trying to sell you diet pills. To allow the ERP implementation process to succeed, you have to find a partner who is honest, experienced, and can help you get to where you need and want to be.

Crestwood has been in the business of ERP implementation, customization, training, and support for decades, and has the experience and expertise to help you get from excitement to satisfaction. Get to know more about the work we do and contact us for a free consultation.


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