Chances are you have been involved in, or have heard stories of, painful business software implementations. Specifically, enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations have been known to miss deadlines and exceed budgets. Even more disturbing, according to Gartner, 75% of all ERP projects fail.
Don’t let these stories keep you from implementing ERP. When you follow best practices for ERP implementation, you will succeed in streamlining inefficient processes, reducing costs and growing revenue. Businesses with successful ERP implementation have some common characteristics. They are more likely to build a business case up front with quantifiable goals, create better processes and spend time training employees.
Help Your ERP Implementation Succeed With These 4 Strategies:
1. Focus on the organizational impact
Businesses choose to implement an ERP system in order to become more productive, predictable and efficient. The ERP is a tool to enable those improvements. It can help streamline processes and cut costs. However, in order to have a successful implementation, you must define which processes you wish to automate and what you hope to achieve with that change. You must have clearly defined purposes and attainable, quantifiable goals.
When you focus on the impact to your organization, you should consider these questions and create quantifiable metrics for each.
- How will the ERP facilitate collaboration between employees and departments?
- How will the ERP reduce process complexity and improve efficiency?
- How will the ERP increase employee and management understanding of operations?
2. Don’t automate a broken process
One of the greatest mistakes and source of frustration with ERP implementations is when businesses try to automate a broken process. It can be easy to try to replicate a manual process with software. After all, this is what you know best. However, using automation tools, it is possible to accomplish processes and systems that are impossible to do manually.
The greatest efficiencies will come from considering the software capabilities and taking advantage of them to create better processes.
3. Use training and reporting to increase process knowledge
ERP implementations can have a huge impact on the employees, not just the systems and business processes. Affected employees may need to change roles, processes and behaviors after many years of doing work the old way. A smooth implementation requires that employees are encouraged to provide input to the new system, are introduced to the new processes and are trained in their new roles.
One complaint of moving to an automated process is that employees lose touch with operational details. While this is true in the sense that the software can perform many of the tasks of one or more employees, in fact, employee knowledge of operations can be applied in new ways.
With proper training and data reporting, an ERP can offer a greater understanding of operations. Instead of being a black box with mysterious processes, it can be a window to the business. Having a single, comprehensive view of the entire business and a powerful reporting system should enable better and faster decision making.
4. Find an expert to help you through the process
Your ERP implementation has a greater likelihood of success when you are working with a vendor who is an expert in your industry. Your ERP vendor will have experience with far more implementations and can set out a plan to help you achieve all of your goals.