During the implementation of an ERP, it is considered essential to identify critical factors that have a definitive impact on the success of the project. What do you think if we analyze these factors? Phase by phase, and, in addition, we offer some tips to guarantee success.
Even when there are perceptible and appreciable benefits derived from the implementation of an ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning -, there are often signs of project failure. It is vital to detect and analyze critical factors.
Any system can be only as good as its implementation.
Implementation Of An ERP – The Phases Of The Project
In some companies, the implementation phases of an ERP may be more than in others but usually, it is carried out through the development of the following phases:
At this stage, the relevant success factor is the evaluation and validation of the performance indicators – KPI -. It is at this point that we check the benefits of the system and the fulfillment of the key indicators that have been defined during the selection of the software to implement.
KPIs must meet some requirements: be realistic, achievable, measurable, and relevant. KPIs are the indicators that will allow the project to be monitored and continuously monitored in the future and to know if the expected benefits are obtained.
Perhaps, this is the most dynamic phase within the implementation. In it, Process Mapping is designed and created. In this phase, the most important thing is to confirm the technical feasibility of the requirements offered by the solution and the necessary adaptation to cover the critical factors.
A good idea at this point may be to provide the ERP vendor with the company’s business plan. Thus, he can configure the system in such a way that it meets the real needs of the organization.
In this phase, the ERP software is configured to meet the specific requirements of the company. Be that as it may, unit tests are likewise performed, which are the important basic achievement factor at this stage.
Testing must be rigorous and consider worst-case scenarios. The more demanding the test, the lower the chance of failure in practice. Although this task corresponds to the developer, the one who endorses and qualifies them is the company that implements the ERP.
The quality tests, unlike unit testing, are of course a critical success factor. Of them, we have four modalities:
- System integration.
- User acceptance.
- Test of performance.
The number of tests that are carried out can reach one hundred, one thousand, or ten thousand. The average number of approved cases is the determining factor to consider the tests satisfactory. Of course, the number of relevant and critical bugs can tip the balance towards an unsatisfactory implementation outcome.
The Implementation Itself
At this stage, we address a transition plan that enables smooth migration for the company. Determine the steps and processes required for the implementation team to begin the task. The more detailed the plan, the more likely the project will be successful. For example, it is important to include employees who are assigned some responsibility, what task they should perform, and when they should have completed it.
Another success factor in this phase of implementation is training for end-users. This is additionally an approach to conquer worker protection from new innovation.
A decisive factor in implementing an ERP is performance benchmarking. Although unit tests and quality tests have been performed in previous phases, the ultimate test is the one that users practice in real environments. Continuing monitoring and improvement after commissioning is crucial to unleashing the benefits of ERP.
Tips For Implementing An ERP
In addition to the above, there are some recommendations that help achieve better results in an ERP implementation:
1. Define Specific Objectives
ERP software must adapt to the business, but it can only do so if you know what the company wants to achieve with it. Therefore, it is necessary to define business objectives and ensure that the ERP implementation strategy is tailored to those objectives. Be careful not to make the mistake of implementing features that seem attractive but do not offer significant business benefits.
2. Focus On Planning
Along with a clear vision of the objectives that are being pursued is the planning to carry out the implementation. ERP is a complex software product that will take time to integrate with the business.
That’s why you need to schedule enough time for each step, make sure important milestones take priority, and strictly manage schedules.
Project management skills are essential and these skills are worth hiring if your current staff does not have the necessary experience.
3. Make A Rigorous Budget
There are several levels of costs involved in implementation, including, for example, software license fees or the advice of a consultant if required. Other costs stem from time spent by internal staff or any business interruption during implementation.
All these associated expenses must be considered so that lack of resources does not hamper implementation.
4. Select The Right ERP Partner
There are two factors to be successful in the selection process. First, a company should look for ERP experts who have extensive experience implementing these types of solutions, rather than just software experience.
Also, that trusted partner to help you with implementation should understand your business, including the verticals you operate in and your customers.
5. Make Sure Everyone Is On Board
ERP implementation can bring challenging changes to day-to-day operations, particularly if an ERP has never been used before in your organization.
Staff must adapt to this change and will do so more easily if they feel motivated and are part of the process. Communication is the key, so a communication strategy must be established that guarantees comprehensive participation.
6. Beware Of Customizations
It can be tempting to tweak ERP systems down to the source code, but the more tweaks that are made, the more difficult future changes and updates will be. When a new version of that technology solution is released, each customization may need to be redeployed and tested. Therefore, make changes only where it is essential.
7. Consider A Staged Approach
Rather than trying to deploy the entire deployment at once, a step-by-step deployment can help avoid major mishaps while allowing the business to diagnose potential problems early on.
8. Test Throughout The Entire Implementation Process
Correcting the course once the implementation is almost complete can be expensive and time-consuming.
Whenever possible, it is recommended that you test your software and processes to see if your deployment is achieving what it should be throughout the deployment period.
9. Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Training
The management change often encounters obstacles when users have to use new software tools in their daily lives.
Often it is simply a training obstacle. Strengthening the implementation of an ERP also has an important pillar in an extensive training phase for end users.
Training increases engagement and reduces staff frustration, quickly benefiting productivity.
10. Ongoing Adjustments And Maintenance
Few ERP projects get everything from scratch. Instead, ERP implementations evolve, adjusting to the reality on the ground.
Continuously evaluating and making improvements helps improve ERP projects once it’s up and running.