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, recognizing that your company is ready for a new solution is only the first step.
What is ERP system implementation ?
An ERP implementation refers to the roll-out of enterprise resource planning software in a company and the migration of business-critical information to this software. A business manager who wants an ERP solution to succeed, whether it be on-premise or in the cloud, must gather requirements from all stakeholders and carefully plan this implementation if they want to get a return-on-investment.
ERP implementation phases
Eric Kimberling of Panorama Consulting Solutions has spent twenty years advising managers considering ERP. He said,
“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 organizational change management aspects...People always think end-user training when they think of organizational change, but there's so much more that needs to happen before the end user training in order for that to be successful.”
ERP implementation best practices
When considering a solution, consider :
- Does this ERP solution support the latest technologies ?
- Is it easy to use ?
- Can this solution be easily customized ?
- Does this solution provide a detailed online help system ?
- Does this solution reduce the amount of time colleagues spend manually inputting information on multiple screens ?
- Can this ERP solution increase performance in weaker areas of a business ?
- Is this solution cost-effective to implement and run ?
How long will implementation take and what will it cost ?
According to Panorama’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. ERP projects fail 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 project
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 implementation projects have become easier 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 organizational change management aspects," he says. "People always think end-user training when they think of organizational change, but there's so much more that needs to happen before the end-user training in order for that to be successful."
Define your business processes
Before implementing ERP software, it’s key to define your business processes in advance.
Alongside your management team, ask :
- 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 project ?
- 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 project plan will succeed.
Solving ERP implementation challenges
Business management software or business management solutions are faster, simpler, and more flexible than a typical ERP implementation. They succeed because companies relying on BMS achieve greater insight into their processes by bringing everything together in one solution.
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, standardized solution.
Irrespective of which software or method you chose, make sure the entire implementation strategy 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 business management solution depends on following a systematic approach. Sometimes, the implementation strategy 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 road bumps is close to zero. Such pre-worked documentation shared by the provider ensures that as a business, you are able to hit the ground running on your implementation strategy and hone in on opportunities.