Make Your ERP Project a Success
Far too often, manufacturers and distributors experience ERP failure because of easily-avoided mistakes. Rather than follow best practices, they become sidetracked and lose sight of project objectives. Without the right team, the right strategies and the right vendor, software investments go to waste.
To help you avoid becoming one of these businesses, we’ve outlined 10 quick tips that’ll guide you in the right direction to achieve ERP implementation success.
1. Prioritize Business Processes
The objective of any enterprise investment is to optimize business performance, but it’s all too common for project teams and stakeholders to lose sight of this goal throughout the duration of an ERP implementation. Sometimes sales pitches convince companies to purchase unnecessary modules, or misunderstandings result in a system lacking core features.
The best way to avoid these shortcomings is to model business processes and identify project goals early on. Once you’ve mapped workflows, detected pain points and established software requirements, have your objectives front and center throughout the implementation to keep the project on target.
2. Select the Right ERP Vendor
Before searching for the right ERP vendor, work with stakeholders and the C-Suite to establish ERP requirements. That way, you can form a checklist of essential software capabilities to guide your selection. From there, research vendors that focus on your specific industry by surfing the web and reaching out to peers.
After narrowing down potential providers, schedule in-person demos and make sure that sales reps show the most relevant ERP functions in action. During the selection process, prioritize ROI over cost, seeking out a reputable vendor with comprehensive out-of-the-box tools that can drive key business improvements.
3. Create a Strong Project Team
Businesses are often under the false impression that their IT team can take full control over the project. However, this line of thinking often results in a solution that doesn’t meet practical business needs. Instead, you want to include employees across the organization on your project team to ensure both technical and functional requirements are met.
Some of the responsibilities that will need to be filled by your project team include providing documentation, detailing business processes, installing infrastructure and hardware and driving project milestones. Hold a project kick-off session to clarify the roles of each team member and conduct regular meetings to check that the implementation is on track.
4. Work with Experts
Even if your project team consists of trustworthy, knowledgeable employees, there’s little chance that anyone within your organization will have extensive ERP experience and expertise. The purpose of certified ERP consultants is to fill those gaps. They know the specific system being implemented inside and out. Their deep understanding of software best practices and business requirements make them essential for mitigating risk and adding value at every stage of the project.
5. Document Everything
Businesses come into trouble when they don’t fully document their needs and processes throughout the ERP implementation. Use cases, for example, are documents that define how applications and users interact with the new system. Without use cases, your solution might not be utilized appropriately.
Documentation is also integral to manage project scope. Changes that crop up during the implementation must be logged and properly signed off to keep project teams in sync. Failure to do so will likely delay the implementation and create add-on costs. Thorough documentation fosters communication and understanding during current and future projects.
6. Develop a Change Management Plan
More often than not, ERP failure results from poor user adoption. End users are often slow to embrace change, and if they don’t support the project, they might refuse to use the system altogether. That’s why change management and training are critical for implementation success. Change management begins early by properly communicating the purpose of the new software and addressing user concerns.
With role-based training, users can get a handle on the relevant tools they’ll need to perform daily tasks. When the system goes live, super users should be on site for about a week to help employees navigate changes.
7. Migrate Data Effectively
Your data forms the core of your business strategies. Therefore, you should properly migrate data from your current solution to the new ERP instance to facilitate strong performance. Don’t wait till the last minute to undergo this activity, or you could wind up losing data or experiencing errors. Cleanse your data of irrelevant, duplicate or outdated information to avoid critical reporting issues and inaccuracies.
8. Conduct Tests
You don’t want to hurt your budget, timeline or user adoption by waiting to resolve issues until after the ERP implementation goes live. By performing comprehensive tests, you can avoid these set-backs and take your time to address errors in test environments. This will help your rollout go smoothly, so you don’t incur downtime.
9. Track Business Performance
Your ERP journey doesn’t end after the system is deployed. As your enterprise evolves and grows, you’ll need to modify your ERP solution to account for changes and continue improving operations. To do this, you’ll have to keep tabs on your business performance. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure whether your software has driven desired improvements. If you find metrics falling short, consider ERP enhancements and further user training.
10. Decommission Legacy Systems
Once your ERP is in place, you’ll have to determine what to do with your legacy systems. Keeping your previous solutions available to perform operations will cause IT costs to skyrocket. You might also find users sticking to old methods and systems rather than adopting the recently implemented software. However, you don’t want to lose any historical information. Your best option is to decommission your legacy platform soon after go live, but you might want the system to remain available solely for view-only access to data or find another method of retaining this information.
For ERP implementation success, all the pieces must come together just right. Let the consultants at Datix serve as the glue that prevents your software project from falling apart. We’re a certified partner of Epicor, a leading ERP vendor for over 45 years. With a deep understanding of Epicor’s comprehensive modules and capabilities, our experts will ensure that your implementation meets your unique business needs. From start to finish, we execute a variety of ERP projects to help you maximize the value of your solution throughout its lifetime.
Don’t become another victim of ERP failure. Contact Datix today to receive expert guidance throughout your Epicor implementation!