Selecting the right ERP solution for an organization can be a long drawn out process. There’s a lot of research involved in finding the perfect software and partner. Given the numerous options available today, choosing the ideal solution can get overwhelming. And as with everything, there are often hidden costs, which a good partner will always help you avoid. Hence, selecting the best software & the perfect partner implement the solution is one of the most important business decisions you have to make. Once you finally decide the ERP software & partner of your choice, comes the most important stage and one you can’t afford to get wrong – Implementation. It is often a complex and time-consuming process with no room for errors. And this may often result in undue stress. We say undue as a good ERP implementation partner will have a methodological and strategic approach to integrate the solution with your business, which will not only ensure successful implementation, but also get done in designated time. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into a successful implementation. As much as it is about the software & partner, it is equally about your organization and employees as well. As at the end of the day, the people in your organization are the end users who will use the solution and help in the efficient running of your business. So your organization and the people within it are integral to the success of the project. Over the course of multiple successful implementations, we have discovered some crucial steps that an organization needs to take to make sure that implementation and integration of the solution is successful:
Thorough Research & PlanningFirst & foremost is research and planning. Researching everything, right from business requirements to software, and partner. Thorough research will help you identify business critical requirements such as business processes, data conversion, migration, deciding between approaches (cloud/on-premise/hybrid), and more. This stage will require you to introspect within the organization, to understand all issues & requirements of your business. It will also let you spot any possible gaps that might hinder the plan going forward. Once done, you’ll be able to list all strategic business objectives and come up with a clear & thorough plan of action. With a plan in hand, you’ll be able to identify and finalize the perfect solution and implementation partner for your business.
Choosing the Right Software & PartnerOne of the most crucial aspects in determining the success of your implementation – The Right Software & Right Partner. Finding the right software for your particular industry is a must. What works for one, may not work for the other, and hence it becomes important to find the one that works for you. The needs and requirements that you have gathered in the research phase will help you find the perfect solution for your particular business. You need to take a rigorous look at each and every software & its features yourself and look beyond the marketing hype in order to determine the right one for you. Coming to finding the right partner, here are some pointers – first, the expertise & experience the vendor has in your particular industry. And second, they possesses an in-depth understanding of your particular business. Also, a good way to spot the right partner is in how clear they are in communication at every stage such as the initial discussion, implementation, & beyond. There are numerous moving parts in the whole process and a good partner will make sure to keep you in the know and help you avoid any hidden costs or delays.
Forming a Focused & Proactive TeamOnce the objectives are outlined, a partner and a solution is decided, you’ll need a focused and proactive team to manage & execute the plan. The idiom – too many cooks spoil the broth stands true in this case as well. With multiple people trying to control and influence the project, it has chances of going wrong rather than right. So the need for a project management & execution team is imperative. Create a strong project team of the best and brightest in your organization. Made up of people from different departments associated with the project with equal measure of expertise, experience, and exceptional communication skills. They will help you formulate a plan of action, define objectives, timelines, oversee smooth implementation, and the eventual assimilation and training of everyone else that needs to be up to speed with the solution. A project management and execution team is a must for a successful implementation.
Configuration & System TestingWith the team in place and the software decided, it’s time to actually start implementing & integrating the system with your business. This is the stage where the configuration starts to optimize the software to your particular business requirements. Of course your chosen partner will already have a plan ready for the same after meticulously analyzing your needs. Proper configuration will ensure timely as well as an optimized system setup. Post configuration and setup comes the most crucial phase – Testing. It is an absolute necessity before going live and one that you simply can’t afford to miss. Testing the solution will allow you to verify that the system is working exactly as you want it to. It will also provide an insight into the performance as well as help with the transition from legacy to new. Configuration & Testing are two major steps in ensuring a successful implementation.
Employee Training & Change ManagementEmployee training and management is the next most crucial step. Integrating a new ERP solution is a massive change. People within your organization are accustomed to a certain process and this change definitely affects them as it also affects the way they work. It has the ability to cause growing pains if mishandled. Employee training is a must as it is them who are going to use the system. Untrained or uninterested users can affect the productivity and efficiency of the solution. Hence, it is imperative to hire experts, in this case, your chosen ERP partner to train your employees thoroughly in order to for them to use the system productively. Also, this is where your own execution team & their communication skills come into picture to get other employees to get acclimated and accept this change in a positive manner. The end user training from you partner and change management from your project team can help you precisely manoeuvre this stage and come out a winner as well as ensure a successful implementation and integration. Implementing an ERP solution into your business is one of the best decisions you can make for your business. It helps in decision-making, provides critical business intelligence, and boosts productivity, efficiency, communication, and more. It has the ability to turn your business into a smart and agile entity ready to take on all the challenges and put you on the path to success. Granted implementation takes time, but it doesn’t have to be painful or anxiety inducing. When done correctly, it can be a smooth transition. Just take care of the steps mentioned above & experience the benefits to your organization in the long run for years to come.
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