6 Best Practices to Planning Successful ERP Implementation

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Businesses gain irreplaceable benefits from a successfully implemented Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. ERP systems provide finance and supply chain structure to any organization, providing them with a launching pad for significant business growth.

Businesses need an ERP system to improve the overall management of information, simplify business processes, and gain insightful reports. Many businesses miss out on the growth opportunities a successfully implemented ERP can provide by rushing the implementation and overlooking key best practices. Some ERP implementations can even fail due to lack of planning, evaluation, or resources. A successfully implemented ERP, however, will grant your business the competitive advantage it needs to scale. To ensure you are among those who succeed and gain optimal benefits from a newly implemented ERP, keep in mind the following 6 best practices:

  • Outline Your Business Justification
  • Identify and Focus on the Business Processes
  • Staff Your Internal Project Team with the Right People
  • Select an ERP that Best Suits Your Business
  • Select the Right Methodology and Proper Project Governance
  • Determine if You Need a Technology Partner

Continue reading to further explore the 6 best practices that will ensure a successful ERP implementation.

erp implementation best practices

1. Outline Your Business Justification

The first Best Practice involves identifying your business goals, and the problems preventing you from reaching them. Answering questions like “What value does my business provide to customers? What are the processes that help provide that value? What’s working well for my business? What business processes need improvement?” and finally, “How will an ERP system directly contribute to improving the business value of those key outcomes?”

Common goals of almost any business:

    • Decrease costs
    • Increase Revenue
    • Increase Efficiency
    • Reduce Risk
    • Continue to dive further into your business’s problems, limitations, opportunities for change, etc.

Examples of specific business outcomes could be:

    • Automation of daily processes
    • High end-user adoption, seeing value and efficiency with the new system
    • Increased visibility of inventory and accountability
    • Single source of truth for multiple departments to reference
    • Simplify time-consuming data entry
    • Improved time to market for new products and services
    • Simplified technical ecosystem
    • Improved customer service
  • erp implementation best practices

2. Identify and Focus on the Business Processes

Successful ERP implementations start with a deep focus on business processes. Then, technology fit can be evaluated to improve those processes. When an ERP is implemented against well-defined processes, it facilitates efficiency, high user adoption, and the ability to scale. Leveraging ERP best practice processes versus changing the technology to adapt to legacy processes adds greater long-term value. Additionally, it is important to know the processes that an ERP system directly improves and affects.

Examples of ERP processes are the following:

  • Core Accounting-GL, AP, AR
  • Sales
  • Purchasing
  • Jobs and Projects
  • Administration
  • Manufacturing/production
  • Fixed Assets
  • Warehouse and Logistics
  • Forecasting and Planning
  • Financial and operational reporting
  • Service

By having well-defined business processes and desired outcomes, you are in a better position to select the right size and type of ERP for your business. Certain ERPs specialize in specific processes, so identifying your business’s priorities will help you select the one fit for your unique needs.

erp implementation best practices

3. Staff Your Internal Project Team With the Right People

Creating the perfect project team is crucial to the success of your ERP implementation. The perfect team should be made up of executive suite sponsors and key business Process Leads who have sufficient technical background and data knowledge.

You will want to make sure to select team members who are:

  • Process-oriented. They understand upstream and downstream and how operations relate to one another.
  • Good team players. Excellent communicators who complete their tasks well in a group setting and are driven.
  • Open to Changing Processes. Curious in knowing how things work and have a growth mindset.
  • Strategic in achieving overall goals, yet can work in the details.
  • Time Commitment. Available bandwidth by having a minimum of 6-10 hours per week available to dedicate to the effective adoption of the new ERP system.

erp implementation best practices

4. Select an ERP that Best Suits Your Business

There are many ERP solutions that provide the right technology to scale your business. Most of these solutions are cloud-based as technology progresses to become more agile. Cloud solutions offer improved security, access, and growth opportunities than on-prem solutions. Finding the right solution plays a major factor in gaining the most out of an ERP implementation, leading to long-term success.

Focus on finding a solution that fits within your budget, integrates with the other technology you have, and provides functionality built around your processes.

erp implementation best practices

5. Select the Right Methodology and Proper Project Governance

This best practice entails understanding what the implementation process will look like from a staffing, technical, budgetary, and time standpoint. To have proper adoption of your new ERP system, determine the right project method your team requires.

Determining the budget, internal, and external resources needed, and timeframe dictates the implementation process. For example, if you have few internal resources but a larger budget to allocate and a flexible timeframe, a full-service implementation may be the best fit. If you have internal resources to help facilitate this and a lower budget, then a quick-start implementation may be a better fit.

Integration capabilities are also important to consider when determining methodology. Levels of automation, volume of data, and transfer speed can help determine the success and ease of your ERP implementation.

Full-Service Implementation Methodology:

  • Built for companies who need full-service assistance from a technology partner and guidance pathfinding to the top.
    • Limited Bandwidth of internal project resources
    • Complex business footprint
    • Lack of experience with integrated, fully functional ERP systems
    • Seeking to learn ERP system best practices with mature business standards
    • Seeking to greatly reduce project risk with the insurance of an experienced partner doing most of the heavy lifting

Quick-start Implementation Methodology:

  • Designed for companies who only need slight guidance and training from a technology partner and have resources who can do a lot of the technical heavy lifting, or have done other implementations before.
    • Requiring only the standard workshops and necessary 1 on 1 training
    • Already have established enterprise business processes or a similar legacy ERP
    • Have an on-prem NAV or AX ERP in place, but looking to update or migrate to a cloud ERP solution

erp implementation best practices

6. Determine if You Need a Technology Partner

Enlisting the right technology partner not only smooths the implementation process but frees up your team to focus on profit-driven projects. Some benefits to utilizing a technology partner include architecting your solution around your organization, implementing the actual ERP, and providing ongoing support to facilitate long-term adoption. We recommend finding a partner that is business outcome focused. These are the types that design solutions around your organization’s processes instead of just building the technology according to a script.

Ready for your implementation?

By putting these 6 best practices into action, you're on your way to successfully adoption and implementing an ERP system. To learn more about what your ERP implementation might look like, contact JourneyTEAM today.

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