Inconsistent data from different business areas, or an inability to find information when you need it, are often key signs that your business is outgrowing its accounting or business management software. However, recognising that your company is ready for a new solution is only the first step.
So how long should this process take and how much will an ERP implementation cost your company? Well, there is no easy answer because it depends on the size and scope of your organisation.
According to Panorama Consulting's independent ERP research over the past five years, the average cost of an ERP implementation is approximately $6.1 million with an average duration of 15.7 months. Traditionally an ERP implementation fails because managers don’t consider:
- how a successful ERP implementation will improve day-to-day business processes
- the cost of an ERP implementation from beginning to end
- the time it will take to complete an ERP implementation
Eric Kimberling of Panorama Consulting is an independent ERP systems expert with over 20 years' experience advising clients around the world. He believes that ERP solutions have become easier to implement over the years.
"You don't want to treat ERP as a small project. You want to make sure you have a dedicated focus on the people that are addressing the organisational change management aspects," he says. "People always think end-user training when they think of organisational change, but there's so much more that needs to happen before the end-user training in order for that to be successful."
Before implementing ERP software, it’s key to define your business processes in advance
Alongside your management team, ask the following questions:
- what inefficiencies in your current business processes do you want to improve?
- what process do you want to mitigate against?
- how can ERP software address these needs or wants?
- what is your budget for an ERP implementation?
- what is your timeline?
- have you allowed for contingencies?
- have you communicated these milestones internally?
It doesn't matter if you opt for on premise or in the cloud, the more you focus on identifying your business need, the more likely your ERP implementation plan will succeed.
How to finally overcome the problems associated with a traditional ERP implementation
According to the size and need of your business, determine whether your company needs specific industry functionality, or whether it will work better with a more flexible, standardised solution.
Irrespective of which software or method you choose, make sure the entire process is divided into steps and each step has specific timelines for completion. To guarantee a seamless implementation, assign someone responsible for ensuring those deadlines are met.
As with most implementations, the success of your solution depends on following a systematic approach. Sometimes, the implementation process runs into minor bumps, and the implementation plan falls behind to accommodate those unforeseen circumstances.
However, in most implementations, the process is supported by documentation, so the chances of hitting speedbumps are close to zero. Such pre-worked documentation shared by the provider ensures that, as a business, you are able to hit the ground running, and hone in on opportunities.