It’s often quoted that around half of all new ERP implementations fail. How this figure is arrived at and what exactly is meant by failure are moot points.
But one certainty is that an ERP implementation is a costly and transformative undertaking. So, you cannot afford for it to fail. It’s vital that you get it right, so you don’t waste your company’s money or your staff’s time and efforts.
To help you, here are seven key considerations that will ensure your ERP implementation is a success.
1. Be Realistic About Timeframes
Your aim of completing your ERP implementation project within a certain number of weeks or months will be contingent on everyone being available to sign off key stages at exactly the right time. If you cannot complete key stages on time – due to someone being off sick or away on holiday – then the project timescales will slip and the ultimate timeframe may not be met.
You may have built your schedule according to an idealised, perfect view of project management. But the world is rarely perfect and delays and bottlenecks will derail the best-laid plans. Setting realistic timeframes, with extra time built in is better than trying to finish on time by cutting corners or rushing things.
2. Build in Contingency Costs
All sort of issues can add to the costs. A delay at any stage will have a knock-on effect, meaning it takes longer to complete the project. This might entail extra costs from your IT partner or could mean lost opportunity costs if your staff are prevented from moving on to other assignments.
There are other ways that costs can spiral. Scope creep is one such culprit. It’s best to stick closely to the plan as far as the project focus is concerned – unless you are also prepared for your ERP implementation to take longer and cost more.
It is best to build in a good amount of budget contingency to account for the unforeseen. With more realistic cost expectations, your project’s parameters are more likely to be attainable – and hence your project is less likely to fail.
3. Ensure Cross-Company Commitment to the Project
Implementing new ERP software affects the whole company. So, it’s vital that the project lead gets commitment to it from right across the business. This is not just about senior buy-in from the C-suite, the board or the management team – but it’s also about engaging other heads of department, managers and supervisory staff.
When everyone is committed, they are fully invested in the project being a success. This garners a greater collective sense of the project’s importance, ensuring that everyone involved prioritises it and motivates themselves and their staff to achieve the same ends.
4. Appoint an Experienced Project Lead
You need an experienced project manager to lead your ERP implementation. With previous projects under their belt, they are best placed to run a successful project. They will be aware of the potential pitfalls to avoid and will understand how to get the best out of both the internal team and the implementation partner.
With prior implementation experience, they will also be able to manage the expectations of the key stakeholders while also keeping the project tightly on track.
If you have no-one who has conducted such a project before, then it may fall to you to oversee and drive the project. In this case, ensure you assign your best, most conscientious and project-oriented managers to the task.
5. Communicate Thoroughly
Widespread change such as brought about by a new ERP implementation can come with hesitancy and resistance. Staff may be wedded to their existing processes and systems and be unwilling to embrace the change.
It’s crucial therefore to understand how best to manage change when implementing new software. Thorough communication is key to change management and should underpin your whole approach.
The project lead should provide regular, detailed updates about the project and its status to all stakeholders. In this way, you better manage expectations and encourage dialogue, which leads to the project team being able to deal with any issues with more promptly.
6. Streamline Your Data
Implementing new software in your organisation presents an excellent opportunity to streamline your data. Your data may be held across different platforms or systems and may be in varying formats. It may not be at all consistent or accurate.
The transition to a new system affords you the chance to sort it all out. You can locate, clean, deduplicate and reformat everything – even deleting some obsolete information – so that it is streamlines and optimised for use.
Migrating data from various systems also allows you to choose how it is best formatted. Gaining agreement on how to do this is often difficult as it involves users with varying priorities and needs. But once you agree on a standardised format, the integrity of your data is assured, making the migration a much simpler task.
7. Train Your Users Early
To ensure widespread adoption of your new system, you will need to have your users trained on it as soon as possible.
Training during the implementation helps iron out any small issues that can be addressed before the system goes live. Also, training users early enables you to train more of your staff. That way, once the new ERP is fully launched, as many people as possible will be up and running and ready to use it from the start.
If you want to maximise levels of user acceptance and adoption for your ERP implementation and to have it come in on time and within budget, then your final consideration would be NetSuite ERP implemented by the certified consultants at NoBlue. Contact us for more information.