6 Steps to Prepare Your Organization for an ERP Implementation
1. Identify the problems, set the goal, scope and objectives
Today’s enterprise resource planning systems can provide numerous solutions to the many issues your organization is facing. However, as mentioned in the why ERP implantations fail, it is very important to identify the real goal, scope, objectives for your implementation. It is imperative to identify the problem or the exact necessity, then to focus the organization on solving these specific issues and necessities. The more specific and detailed you can be upfront, the more detailed and precise your implementation will be.
More and more organizations chose a phased approach to ERP implementations over the “big bang” style favored in past years. This often is a less risk and more advisable way to approach the cutover while offering potential benefits such as allowing to work out flaws and glitches before going company-wide.
2. Align teams early on
Designate an internal project or team lead to spearhead your implementation efforts and make sure clear and concise goal, scope and objective are communicated and documented. Ensure the support for these goal, scope and objectives and align with corporate decision-makers early on.
Having the right people engaged in the process could be a significant factor in contributing to the success of the project. You are not looking for the average or available players on your team, you are looking for brilliant and bolt; you want to choose the best team possible. Give the members the authority, the autonomy and the time to ensure that the project is completed right.
3. Establish a Change Management Strategy
An ERP implementation typically will come with extensive change, while employees of any company are accustomed to the same kind of activities or their daily routine, and often these changes may not be easily-accepted. That is, when change management becomes crucial and it should be woven into the fabric of the implementation. That includes involving the employees to prepare a compelling business case for change, the goal, scope and objective and why you are doing this project. Everyone must be aligned and intimately familiar with the business case, the vision and the objectives of the project. Unfortunately, this fundamental and foundational step is often missed. Change is for one and all, and management must take it on themselves to be the evangelists of the new ERP system and imprint a positive mindset in the users about it.
Repeatedly communicating this positively to the employees will make things easier as an ERP can only provide optimal results when every employee accepts the change.
4. Documentation, training and considering the human factor
We already know from the failed ERP project section that end user training is a critical success factor. In the same way end-user documentation is critical in setting expectations for the ERP rollout. Your employees need to adapt to changing your processes, new software and navigation and technology, and you will need to plan and prepare people for this change if you want your employees adjust to all of this in stride. Preparing people for change may be the most abstract concept within the ERP implementation process, but don’t neglect it just because you can’t easily measure readiness. Neglecting user training and readiness can derail a project before it gets off its feet.
5. Understand your Vendor’s Process
ERP vendors know what it takes to implement their software and have built specific ERP implementation methodologies to organize their implementation processes. Work with the ERP vendor or implementation partner to fine-tune it to work within your specific circumstances. Developing a strong understanding of your vendor’s philosophy and ensuring it aligns with your goals can set you on a strong path for success.
6. Create a Post-implementation Plan
Post go-live is often, where ERP implementation projects stumble. Many things can change, when the implementation team hands off the post go-live support to the internal and external support. Having a clear post-deployment support strategy upfront will ensure that users know how to report issues, and the vendor knows what is expected off of them post deployment. It’s also important to have adequate technical support in place at and after the go-live so you can resolve any user issues quickly and prevent your teams from getting frustrated with the system.