The role of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in managing business operations has evolved significantly over the past decade from a focus on specific business areas such as manufacturing or human resources to broader use throughout the organization – focusing on collaborative, real-time business processes.
Implementing a new ERP system – whether a first-time ERP implementation or the implementation of a new ERP system to replace an existing legacy ERP platform – the adoption of a new ERP system requires intensive planning and strategy. Everything from data retention and storage protocols to software testing and configuration and, of course, upfront costs must be scrutinized before a company, for example, migrates data between legacy systems and a new ERP system.
Here are three attributes of a smart ERP implementation.
- Project Manage, Manage, Manage! Another characteristic that defines winning ERP implementations is how well the implementation is managed. A prerequisite for a successful ERP implementation is a dedicated project manager who is involved in both planning and ongoing management. In addition, the company must also be willing to commit sufficient resources to the project before, during, and after implementation. Tip: Designate an internal project or team lead to spearhead your implementation efforts. A vendor-selected project manager can also be a terrific asset.
- Early Data Migration: Many companies tend to focus on software testing and configuration and put off dealing with data migration until late in the implementation process. An attribute of successful ERP implementations is that data migration is put into the project plan as early as possible. A company’s data is one of its primary assets and issues with migrating data between legacy systems and a new ERP system can have a sizeable negative impact on business operations, especially those that are exposed late in the process. Tip: Determine early how much historical data should be brought into your new ERP system.
- Embrace Change: Change management is crucial to the success of an ERP initiative. Employees need to be introduced to new processes and job roles over a period so that they can accept and internalize these developments. Neglecting this aspect of implementation or putting it off until late in the project may result in organizational resistance to the new system, even to the point of operational risk. To be most effective, training should concentrate on business workflows and how these changes affect job roles and the people who do the work. Tip: Learning and mastering a new way of operating can often require a considerable investment of time and effort. Provide your staff with the time needed to get acquainted with the new ERP system during migration and early rollout stages.
Keep in mind, when you are making your ERP software selection, you may not be clear on all the costs and risks associated with your purchase. Be sure you understand all the costs associated with ERP, such as implementation, maintenance, upgrades, and adding team members. Don’t go blindly into a decision.