The decision to transition to an ERP system and replace in-house or legacy business applications & processes is one of the toughest calls for senior management or any IT head. A glitch-free setup & proper business alignment will warrant drastically improved returns & process efficiency. But a few slip-ups and the whole process can fail even before you realize what went wrong. The entire process right from the selection of an ERP to the post-implementation phase has many pitfalls which are easy to spot & steer clear of, if checked in time.
Based on our years of experience with customers worldwide, here’s a quick guide.
It is research and the know-how phase of ERP Selection where many small & mid market companies go wrong. Here is a quick checklist to avoid the most common pitfalls in ERP selection –
- Involve Potential System Users:Make sure you take inputs from all departments who will be using the ERP Solution. Discuss & record process workflows and cross-functional needs in detail
- Assess the extent of Re-engineering:Select the ERP which aligns smoothly with the existing supply chain or manufacturing process, requiring minimum process re-engineering and maximum process enhancements. Make sure you understand the extent of re-engineering work that will be required to set this new ERP system in place and replace your existing business processes
- Dig deep before your purchase:Ask for credible references, capture the opinion of current users of the ERP system and compare the various solutions based on their inputs and take a well-informed decision
- Choose the Partner wisely:Make sure that your requirements are properly communicated and understood by the partner/vendor. Select a vendor with seasoned consultants, matured implementation services and consistent post-implementation support
Once you zero down on a particular ERP vendor & the solution for your business, make sure you have the right internal practices in place–
- Identify an appropriate SPOC:Choose someone with the authority to bring various departmental heads or managers together. Always have at least one full-time resource working on the ERP Project to steer through implementation roadblocks. This person should be able to dedicate his focus & time to ERP transition
- Ensure Complete Process Documentation:Document the current state of business processes aka ‘As Is’ well before the re-engineering process. The ‘To be’ process plan should also be documented thoroughly to ensure the implementation team does not interpret your processes differently
- Track Progress & Set Milestones:Tracking each step of the ERP implementation process will guarantee there are no schedule delays and will also help in raising alarms on certain concerns well in advance. Have tangible milestones in place to ensure optimum project costs & resource utilization
So now you have succeeded in moving from legacy business processes to an ERP led re-engineered system. There might still be post-implementation hiccups which can derail the returns on your ERP investment –
- Ask your vendor for Training and Support:Ensure that the users of the system are well trained and familiar with the capabilities of the modules. Lack of understanding of the ERP system will result in lesser efficiencies and will slow down the entire workflow
- Timely Feedback & Suggestions:Feedback from system users and managers is equally important. This will help in fine-tuning the system to your needs or ask for system enhancements as required