You May Use Disruptive Technology Without Knowing It
Most businesses are aware that they need to adopt software technologies to compete in today’s economic climate, but the fear of change holds them back. In the case of FINIDR, for example, used an in-house ERP system that gradually became obsolete as production parameters and order volumes increased. There came a point when system capabilities could no longer predict accurate delivery times with the overwhelmed manufacturing demand. The company then launched a search to replace its legacy systems but the damage was done. Without the confidence to make decisions in new software systems, very little can move forward—and even cause disruption or harm.
That is why it is the responsibility of cloud ERP consultants and partners is to educate and encourage nervous customers when it comes to the value of cloud ERP software, which also means talking about things that can go wrong. There are many ways your company can prepare for success, from early discovery, right through to the system go live.
Here are a few tips to avoid disruption or failure for those considering ERP implementation for their future digital transformation.
1. Prepare for changing environments
This is at the top of the list for good reason - working within current digital ecosystems makes all the difference. According to Gartner, in 2019 there were 14.2 billion IoT products connected and in use. By 2021, total connections will reach over 25 billion. Soon cloud and IoT technologies will encompass every aspect of the way we live and work.
We hear so many stories about companies who achieve success with traditional implementations but are left unable to use their system when there are new upgrades, processes, and requirements needed. It is tempting to take these existing business processes and duplicate them in a traditional ERP system. There is a certain logic in replicating these processes, but cloud-based ERP often works much more efficiently if you take the time to view things from a different perspective. Nobody should automate outdated practices—especially in traditional ERP.
Implementing cloud ERP software is a chance to discover a better way things can be done. Not everyone wants cloud, but it undoubtedly comes with a wide range of advantages for businesses of all sizes. Now that there are solutions built with these businesses in mind, the biggest problem that remains is making the right decision before the digital environment shifts.
2. Selecting a Product that Integrates with Existing Capabilities
Running a business involves a wide range of vital business processes—from sales and pre-planning, to production, manufacturing, and shipping. When it comes to selecting and implementing ERP, knowing what you need for your unique operation becomes more critical than ever. Consider a customer that selects product parameters and orders from you because they have a set of defined needs that they know you can fill. Shouldn’t you be doing the same?
Equip yourself with a checklist of core requirements, existing processes, and capabilities you want to integrate. Utilizing your own product guidelines, you’ll allow yourself to sift through options from on-prem systems to cloud-based, industry-specific solutions, customer relationship management (CRM) or software as a service (SaaS). Does the software scalability match your growing portfolio and financial needs? Which can be implemented in an allotted schedule with integrations you need?
There are more choices in ERP than ever before, all with their own pronounced features. It can be a dizzying process. Avoid this by creating your own perfect start and using your checklist during the discovery phase to find the best fit for your company. It will be well worth it.
3. Choose a Trusted Partner
Trust is vital. Without it, you will never really know if your chosen system is right for you or if your project will be delivered in time. Make the launch of your implementation partner search one that looks at those with the best reputation for delivering and creating long term relationships. Any software vendor worth the time and money will build relationships with clients for the long term – if they don’t then you need to continue your search.
For your part, establish what your potential partners offer in terms of products that fit your needs, implementation and customization capabilities, and the extent of support after your ERP project. Good partners offer a good package of support and assistance including a helping-hand for a time after go-live. The best vendors offer ongoing support and customer aid throughout the journey. Bear in mind that budgets for aftercare are worth considering as it’s not something you’ll want to go without.
Make sure potential partners are able to give you what you need – you should know what your responsibilities will be moving forward as well as your partner. Likewise, software consultants need to know if there are plans to expand, to open up locations globally, or any other activity that might require additional considerations.
No one wants to spend additional time on reimplementation because of a communication barrier. Your chosen IT partner should walk you through this process and the course charted for your project so you know exactly what to expect.
4. Quickly start up and reduce costs
Do you know where your business will be in the next 5 or 10 years? It’s a common question for any business, but when it comes to selecting and implementing ERP in a pinch the decision process can be paralyzing. It leaves you in the position of taking too long or making the mistake of choosing a product that will not provide your company with the customized needs you require.
Find out what you need to do and do it. Overruns and missed deadlines can be avoided by concise product and partner decisions. This does NOT mean making a quick, half-baked decision. After you’ve combed through your options and selected the best choice for your business needs, your new ERP needs a seamless implementation and integration process.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a clean go-live. Most people will default to an “out-of-the-box solution” when time is crunched—don’t. Fully customizable products are available, and they will save you more time and money than you can imagine.
5. Position your Company for Greatness
Consultants are great at their jobs when they are allowed to move forward, and projects can finish surprisingly quickly. The most common pain point isn’t the project itself, but when the business is left to continue operations on their own. With an unfamiliar eye, the potential for system issues afterward can be overlooked.
In this way, teams realize exactly how well-trained they are when it’s time to actually use the system. Many find themselves in disbelief with the amount of training required. The ability to move knowledge and training downward through the layers of your organization will be paramount. Your partner will offer support, but before the start of the project, you need to get them involved with giving your team the proper training and knowledge they’ll need to thrive.
In overcomplex companies with multiple layers of management, this process can slow things down, wasting valuable time. That is why it is good practice to ensure that all levels of your organization understand the “why” while getting everyone on the same page. Plan ahead, create a team agenda, and share it with your IT team to plot a route for training. It will translate into an advantage from the start.
A Happy Ending
Going back to our friends at FINIDR who, prior to implementing Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline), were using a legacy system they developed in-house. Sure, their decision makers were involved and saw the in-house ERP system gradually becoming obsolete, but without employees and ERP partners on board, decisions can take too long. Simply put, hold-ups lead to bottlenecks and wastes everyone’s valuable time—especially the company as a whole when it can lead to major failures.
With CloudSuite Industrial, FINIDR was able to increase production throughput with the same workforce, support a higher number of orders as well as overcoming a difficult ERP disruption. FINIDR now possess the competitive edge and reached their market position goal. The interlining of their present-day success is not only in overcoming the fear of change or beating out a disruption of ERP technology, but successfully maintaining their market position despite significant market changes that have occurred since then.
Because of the fear to adopt new technology, an inadequate system can be used to the point of major disruption if there is no action to undergo change. It is worth remembering that there is life following the immediate fallout of ERP incidents. But it’s always better to plan ahead and avoid failures such as these.
The implementation journey is not fixed, but instead, an evolving process which requires the support of employees and partner relationships. With the power to support unlimited capabilities on a local and global scale, comes great responsibility.
To learn more about FINIDR’s story, download their case study here.