Even with a meticulous plan, a formidable team and the perfect timing, you can never completely guarantee that you will achieve a successful ERP implementation project.
We’ve previously outlined the eight stages of an ERP implementation that a business should follow. But there are three critical factors that are worth paying closer attention to if you want to ensure your ERP implementation is a success.
1. Choose Software that Addresses Your Pain Points
The starting point of any new project is that your new software must address your company’s pain points.
Without knowing what you want the software to achieve, you cannot set clear goals nor build on these to create a well-defined project scope.
Your company’s pain points prevent you from functioning optimally. But it is not always evident what these pain points are. And discovering them comes down to undertaking a thorough appraisal of the business.
The discovery phase involves speaking with all your stakeholders so that you can ascertain what their needs are. Involve all staff that will use the software – not just the finance and IT departments. It also affects those in purchasing, your warehouse, sales and marketing, customer support, and so on. It may be necessary to define or re-evaluate business processes for any of these departments.
With assistance from a cross-functional team, you can uncover what is limiting your business and build objectives and plans for the new software to solve these issues.
2. Choose an ERP Implementation Supplier with Experience in Your Industry
There are many considerations to be made when choosing a software partner. Aside from choosing one that is an expert in the software you choose, your priority should be that they have solid experience in your industry.
Every company is different. The particular way that they approach business, or manage internal processes, along with their staff, suppliers and customers all makes them unique. But there are still aspects of a business that can be similar to others. And being in the same industry is one of those.
If you choose a software provider that has never dealt with a business in your sector before, then they will have a significant amount of on the job learning to do. They need to get to know your industry, what the processes are like, how it is regulated, what compliance is required, what sorts of customers and suppliers you deal with, and more.
On the other hand, not only does a software supplier with experience of your industry already know all this, but they can also pass on the knowledge they have gained. They know the pain points and how to overcome them. They can apply what they have learned working with your peers to your own project, giving you a value-added service.
We find this with our own customers. For example, we can help wholesale and distribution companies with optimising their picking strategies. Or we can impart advice to professional services firms about the best way to assess and forecast project costs for their client-facing teams.
To choose an appropriate software partner, check the case studies and testimonials given by your shortlist of providers so you can determine which industries they have experience of and therefore which may be the best placed to help you.
3. Use Your Supplier’s Expertise to Help You Get the Most from Your Software
A good software provider can really help you to get the most from your software.
They will know the system inside out and will know how they can optimise or fine-tune it so that it gives you more.
They can add enormous expertise to the requirements design and planning stage. Their experience can help hone your internal business processes. Don’t continue to do something if it is not the best fit for your company. It’s short-sighted to persist with a method just because that’s the way you have always done it.
Your supplier can also be invaluable with aspects of configuration and implementation. They will understand the challenges of ERP data migration, for example, and be able to advise on best practices for a solid data migration plan.
Even after the implementation is complete, there are opportunities to maximise your use of your software. Your software partner can train your teams on the system, helping them to quickly become expert themselves and allowing you to benefit from it even sooner.
Finally, the ongoing technical support that your software partner can bring is vital to your continuing use of its features, ensuing you understand its full capabilities – and make the most of them.