ERP System Implementation Planning, Risks & Strategies
ERP system implementations should never be viewed as just a standard IT project. Instead, it must be treated as a business project alongside wider objectives for your organisation. By extension, it is critical for business units to acknowledge and own their roles in the initiative to ensure overall success.
The ERP implementation process requires an all-encompassing understanding of the needs of your business and how the proposed solution will help you achieve your business improvement goals. Therefore, to help you better grasp how to implement ERP systems, the team at Ndevr have compiled a helpful guide that will cover strategies, planning tips, and how to identify potential risks.
How To Implement ERP Systems
As with any major project, ERP system implementation must start with planning. This is where you will determine the scope of work before you, the extent to which you will use this system in your wider business, the stakeholders involved, and the timeline of deliverables throughout the implementation project. While this can be made easier with proven software in the industry, such as NetSuite ERP, there can still be risks and challenges involved if this is your first time handling such a task. One of the best ways to overcome this hurdle is by partnering with ERP implementation specialists to assist.
In fact, with the perfect combination of suitable software and an implementation partner, here are a few expected results that you can look forward to:
- Easy access to insight through cloud-based solutions
- Automated business processes and streamlined operations
- Scalable business operations for business growth
- Integrated systems for greater efficiency
- Accurate real-time data
- Improved inter-department communications and collaboration
- Reduced overhead costs
Which Team Members Should Be Involved In ERP System Implementation Projects?
Ndevr will tightly Project Manage your ERP implementation, however there is still involvement and inclusion of team members from within your business.
Specific team members will vary throughout the project depending on your business needs, you may also assign more than one role to a single person, but here are three leading roles you can expect to be part of your ERP system implementations team.
As part of the Project Management team, an internal executive sponsor is responsible for providing the expectations and assigning any internal resources needed for your project. Their work setup might be more flexible, but they are crucial to address inevitable questions or concerns.
This person represents a business side point of contact for us and should be knowledgeable about your business, the scope of the project and your business goals. Equipped with management experience, the internal project leader represents the project and the rest of the team to upper management.
As ERP implementation specialists, every project we work on is assigned one of our experienced and qualified project managers. Our project managers work closely with your team and ours to ensure your project is delivered on time and within budget, while managing the scope of the project or any changes that arise.
There are many tasks to fulfill at different stages of your project, so project team members need to be handpicked by expertise and knowledge relating to their assigned task in the project at hand. During the planning stage, the team members get a detailed run-through of their responsibilities, as well as performance indicators, ongoing tasks and timelines.
Ndevr can help you to Identify which team member roles will be the most suitable for working with us on your ERP implementation project. We can also provide you with indicative effort.
It’s important to consider the importance of clear, concise communication to team members, so that the ‘who’, ‘what,’ ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘why,’ of tasks and events is complete and transparent throughout the process. This improves the overall effectiveness of your project while mitigating any unnecessary issues along the way.
What Are The Stages Of The ERP Implementation Process?
The stages of implementing ERP software are reasonably well defined with variances arising from individual needs. Any variances to the implementation stages are established very early in the process.
1. Planning and Discovery
The planning and discovery phase is initialised during the sales cycle because it includes gathering requirements and input from different departments across your business and identifying the problems you aim to solve with an ERP system implementation. Planning and discovery is as important for your business as it is for ours because in order for your project to be successful you need to choose the right ERP system for your industry and business needs.
Don’t rush this part, it is crucial to ensuring that the ERP system that is implemented for your business is the one that is going to support you to achieve your business goals.
Here is where we work with your team to analyse your existing workflows. We determine how those workflows will work with your new system or what modifications are required, either to your workflows or to the system.
A business that has not used an ERP system before might find that this is the first time workflows are documented. This stage may need some flexibility from your team members as it is likely that there will be adjustments made to their daily task routines to fit wider objectives.
3. Development and Configuration
The transition into project delivery, this stage is where your integration provider works with your organisation to configure the software. It covers implementing the ERP software to match your business requirements and preparing for deployment or “Go Live”.
The development stage also sees the preparation of necessary training and documentation materials, as well as the onset of data imports.
A vital step before going live, the testing stage should cover comprehensive assessments. Ideally, part of this is a catalogue of how each end-user will use the system. It’s normal to encounter certain fine-tuning issues exposed during testing – this is the purpose, as these controlled scenarios are much better than entangling employees in problems after the system goes live.
5. Deployment and End-User Acceptance
It’s finally time to go live. You’ll know that you’re starting to earn your ROI once you see your staff fully maximising the system for their everyday jobs. This end-user acceptance of your system is crucial to the project’s success and is usually the outcome when there has been clear ongoing communication throughout the project as well as training of your team.
The ERP implementation process doesn’t end at deployment. Our team Ndevr, for example, can continue providing support as needed. Support looks different for every customer we work with, this is because your own needs will be different depending upon the hours of operation of your business and the different ways your ERP system vendor manages the system you have implemented.
Ndevr offers a wide range of support and managed services for our customers and your initial needs are discussed during the planning and discovery phase of your project.
What Are The ERP Implementation Project Risks?
There are risks and challenges associated with ERP system implementations that we apply sound risk mitigation strategies for.
Implementing an ERP system also means getting users to shift their daily tasks or routines to work with a new solution. Strong senior leadership and project management is vital to ensure that transition is as seamless as possible for your team with a high level of buy-in from staff needed. We have decades of experience in ensuring your team are brought along on the journey to a new system.
Invest In Training
Its tempting to cut corners on any project but training your end-users is vital to the success of your project and your end-user acceptance.
Training your team can be handled in many ways, from training a trainer, to in person group training, to the development of a tailored “how to” video library which might be used for roles with high resource rotation, or which are fulfilled by contractors.
There is plenty of scope for training activities to be flexible to your unique needs, but it is a vital part of your implementation project.
When the discovery and requirements gathering phase is insufficient it is common for scope change to crop up. Scope change is where part way through your implementation project a stakeholder changes their mind about what their requirements are.
Scope changes should be avoided as they can affect your entire project delivery timeline and all the different delivery milestones along the way.
We minimise the risk of scope change by ensuring we are thorough in the planning and discovery phase and by tightly managing your project to ensure that it is delivered on time and within budget.
Our project team are highly experienced in ERP implementation project delivery across many industries, so they can help mitigate the risks of scope changes occurring as well as ensure that any scope changes that do occur are integrated into your project with minimal disruption.
ERP Implementation Go Live Strategies
What follows is a text-book description of the various approaches applied in and ERP system implementation project. The type of Go Live strategy utilised for your project is determined by how your business is currently operating, the scope or scale of your implementation project as well as many other factors that will be unique to your business. In all cases our team will deploy a Go Live or rollout strategy that will minimise risk and disruption to your business as well as minimise project risk.
Our goal is a successful project with high customer satisfaction.
1. Single-Step Method
This approach entails all users migrating to the new system simultaneously, meaning the configuration, testing, and training must all be accomplished by the go-live date.
This method welcomes fast results when it’s done right.
2. Phased Rollout
This strategy has a less risky and more measured approach but may extend your project’s timeline. The overall impact of this roll-out strategy means that it will take a little longer to see the benefits of your new system.
The three main phased rollout methods are either phased by module, organisational hierarchy, or geography.
3. Parallel Adoption
Alongside implementing your new ERP software, legacy systems are still maintained in place until the new system is fully deployed and all users are trained and using it live.
Organisations use this safety net in situations where they need to power critical functions that must never cease. Parallel Adoption can make it easier for some end-users to adopt your new system but having two systems run synchronously can be costly in resources, and labour. Its nature also doubles the chances of errors as data is registered twice into two different systems.
Parallel adoption is temporary and more common among businesses who are in situations of mergers and acquisitions.
True to its name, the Hybrid strategy of implementing ERP software incorporates some aspects from the others in the list. For example, a business might deploy the single-step strategy to activate basic ERP modules, then phase in other modules to specific departments or locations.
ERP System Implementations With Australia’s Best
There are several benefits and challenges to ERP system implementation. What makes the difference is the expertise and practices of a trusted ERP system provider.
Ndevr specialises in implementing and engineering innovative ERP system implementations to serve your business with reputable partner programs like JD Edwards, NetSuite, and MYOB Advanced. Our team offers years of industry experience in providing software solutions and creating long-term value for our customers.
Are you ready to see the Ndevr difference for your business? Call us at +61 (3) 9865 1400 or fill out our online form to get started.