In order to ensure effective implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning software, your organization should be ready to do a lot of planning and coordination. An ERP software application will certainly change the manner your business and employees work; hence the reason why an effective change management process is critical.
From concerns about cost and ROI to practical considerations about who will oversee the process, ERP implementation efforts call for a commitment by all stakeholders in the company for it to be successful. Here are some vital factors to consider when deploying a software solution.
During the early stages, it’s imperative to organize a competent project team which consists of major players within an organization. Senior management, IT personnel, as well as key people from each department can help to set up objectives, create a training plan, develop a timeline, and organize project’s specific tasks. Once chosen, the team can join forces and do a review of specific business processes before coming up with an analysis of what need to be improved.
Conducting a review of the ERP software will help find out if any modifications will be required before its introduction. In order to guarantee standardization of business processes, it is vital to identify Standard Operating Procedures for each process. Each procedure must be documented in a form which can be easily modified since your operating processes get to change over time. Putting together the Standard Operating Procedures takes time, but it is a very significant part of the ERP software implementation process.
When it comes to converting your current data to the new Enterprise Resource Planning System, it is chancy to believe that all of your company data can be converted to the new software automatically. You might have data that is obsolete or for one reason or another, may not adapt to the new system. It is vital, therefore, to analyze the existing data to establish where the drawbacks might arise during conversion. After this is done, the cleaned up and accurate data is uploaded to the system.
If the ERP system is frustrating to your staff for the simple reason that it is not functioning appropriately, they will not fully embrace the new software. This translates to a poor Return On Investment (ROI). Therefore, it is vital to test the system to ensure everything is functioning and all information is correct and can be properly accessed.
Even if you will be required to run real-life scenarios for a few days to check if everything is working properly, the time investment will be worth it when your staff members eventually adopt the system.
Once you are convinced everything is functioning properly, you can use a trainer supplied by the vendor to oversee the training. Besides the usual instructions of use, training can also involve the creation of cheat sheets, FAQs, and other resources which provide the staff with a quick reference. Do not undervalue the value of quality training – this is not a stage to cut costs.
Once the ERP system has undergone all these steps, you can now go live. However, it is good to carry out an evaluation that refers back to the objectives which were outlined during the planning stage. Also, you should proactively carry out an audit once the system has been in operation for at least one week. Afterward, prepare other audits on regular basis to ensure the projected benefits are on course. This will give you an indication if the ERP software is adding value to your business operations.
Overall, to implement an ERP successfully, it is good to establish goals that are both practical and attainable. Lastly, test, test, and test again to realize its full benefits. And, remember that you will bump into some setbacks during the ERP software implementation process. This calls for both patience and persistence.