Recently, Panorama Consulting Solutions released a white paper containing tips on implementing a specific brand of ERP software. Truth is though, their advice (listed as Ten Tips) could be applied to any and all major software implementations. In this post and the next, we’ll reprise their “Tips”.
Herewith, their first Five Tips…
- Focus on business processes and requirements first. At our firm, we won’t even do an ERP project without first completing this mission-critical first step. As we often say, ‘we cannot quote what we do not know.’ Likewise, you should not commit to an ERP project without first having clearly defined your business processes and mapped them to your software, at least ‘strategically’ (that is, in terms of ‘business requirements’ if not necessarily in terms of data-driven software details like screens, fonts, and step details).
- Take measures to achieve a healthy ROI. Maximizing business benefits means defining a few key goals. They should be a part of the roadmap you create during step one above. Without goals, nothing will be achieved because nothing will be measured. This is largely an internal process, but your goals should be communicated clearly to your solution provider as well, so everyone’s on the same page.
- Secure strong project management and resource commitment. Behind every good ERP project is a client advocate, the backing of senior management, and a committed team. We find that without true commitment from the very top of the organization, the likelihood of project success, particularly in small to mid-size businesses, is dimmed substantially. Both client and provider should have committed Project Managers who communicate regularly. Both strong IT skills and strong communication skills are required. This is amplified during the stages of Go-Live, augmented by weekly project meetings (via GoTo Meeting, typically) where issues can be surfaced, addressed and assigned.
- Commitment from company executives. While this tip might be considered a part of the prior step, it’s worth singling out. As noted earlier, without true commitment from the top, projects flounder. The executive team should be tasked with ensuring that project goals are being met in their relevant timeframes along the way. After all, that executive team is the one most likely to benefit from the project’s results.
- Take time to plan up front. Take some time to understand your ERP provider’s implementation plan. Who is affected, and when, and for how long? What are the implications to your current staff (when they have to, essentially, do two jobs in the same day perhaps)? Include resource projections including time, staff, budget, and remember the importance of training, support during Go-Live, and early stage implementation support. Think about not just the costs in dollars, but the costs in morale to your team.
We’ll recap the last 5 tips in our next post. Stay tuned…