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Choosing the Right ERP Implementation Strategy

By Candice Schuval

ERP Implementation Methods

3 ERP Implementation Methods

You may have thought that you were ready to get started on your ERP implementation after choosing your vendor, but there’s still a lot more questions that need to get answered before you throw away QuickBooks and install brand new software. For example, what is your ERP implementation strategy? We’re not talking about all the detailed steps and customizations for now. Before getting into the nitty gritty, it’s important to determine how much of the project you’re taking on alone and how much you’re delegating to an ERP consultant. Below, we lay out the three approaches to software implementations: self-directed, collaborative and turnkey implementations.

Self-Directed Implementation

Self-directed implementations (also known as self-managed and traditional implementations) are, as one would expect, approaches in which the client takes on the entire project solo. The businesses brave enough to take on this responsibility must have experts in the specific instance as well as ample resources. The benefits of this approach are that businesses can avoid the costs of a consulting firm, only calling on consultants for particular concerns. Furthermore, the business has full control of the project and gains more expertise in the system as they solve problems on their own.

But with this approach comes enormous risk. Few manufacturing and distribution companies possess the level of ERP experience possessed by consultants. Even if an on-site IT team fully understands the technology, they likely lack experience in business process modeling or organizational change management—two primary responsibilities in bringing ERP goals to fruition. Though you initially save money by going without ERP consultants, a hitch in your implementation could ultimately cost you far more than hiring ERP experts in the first place. Bottom line: undergo a self-directed ERP implementation at your own risk.

Collaborative Implementation

This approach splits implementation responsibilities between the client and consultant. Collaborative implementations enable the client to exercise an active role in the project, providing them with a robust understanding of their system and business processes. But with a consultant guiding them through the project, they can avoid common sources of ERP failure. From the offset, an experienced ERP consultant can anticipate challenges and determine user needs to install the right system and features. Essentially, collaborative implementations include the benefits of self-managed projects without the risks.

The key to success using this approach is communication. To develop a sound strategy and hold everyone accountable, it’s imperative that there’s a built-in plan for continuous communication. Businesses need to assign someone on the project team as the primary point of communication between the team and the consultants. As you search for your ERP consultant, consider their flexibility as well as their approach to collaboration. Is the firm willing to work on your budget and schedule? Will their work ethic and skills mesh well with your project team? Businesses that find the right consultant will find that this approach provides users with greater insight into their ERP instance and reduces the chance of failure.

Turnkey Implementation

What if your business doesn’t have enough personnel to take on any of the technical aspects of implementing an ERP instance? With a turnkey implementation, a consulting firm takes control of the project, delegating its own resources to its execution. Though this method typically results in a shorter timeline, it comes with some concerns. Users can have a tougher time adapting to a system in which they offered little input. That’s why it’s crucial for the business environment to be one that welcomes change. This also makes it critical for clients to fully express their ERP needs to the consultants at the very beginning of the project. Additionally, the upfront implementation fee is much steeper when consultants bear all the responsibility.

Wrap Up

Clearly, our ERP experts tend to come down in support of the collaborative implementation. This approach usually results in greater user adoption, higher ROI and faster projects. However, in Datix’s 20 years of business, we are well aware that every company is different. In the first step of our Strategic Solution Process, we undergo extensive business process modeling and identify use cases to help us determine which methodology is the best fit for each client’s needs.

As an Epicor Platinum Partner, Datix has a proven methodology and the ERP prowess to guide software implementations from start to finish. Our scalable ERP, CRM, eCommerce and integration solutions satisfy an array of user needs to make your enterprise a formidable competitor. To find out which enterprise software solution and implementation methodology is right for you, contact Datix today!

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Tags: change management, Epicor® ERP, ERP implementation, erp implementation process, erp use cases, software implementation, epicor consulting, erp consultants, erp consulting, project team, strategic solutions process

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