Today’s ERP solutions can give your organization robust reporting and streamlined efficiency, allowing company leadership to make informed business decisions. It’s no secret that an ERP implementation requires significant time and resources while delivering diverse business benefits once deployed and used effectively. Congratulations, now it’s time to start considering what’s ahead for your ERP implementation.
Because of all the moving parts, the risks associated with a project of this scale should remain a top priority throughout the project. Proper planning is the key to starting an implementation and puts your organization on a path to success during and after the deployment. Prepare for your ERP implementation by addressing these common considerations of any ERP implementation.
Inadequate Project Management
One of the paramount challenges in ERP implementation is the absence of robust project management. A meticulously planned and effectively managed project helps clearly define goals, set milestones, allocate resources efficiently, and adhere to timelines. In contrast, inadequate project management can lead to a disjointed approach where teams may lose direction, tasks overlap or be missed entirely, and budgetary constraints can be breached. Such mismanagement not only impacts the immediate implementation process but also jeopardizes the overall objectives of adopting an ERP system.
Scope creep refers to the uncontrolled changes or continuous expansion of a project’s scope, beyond its original objectives, without corresponding adjustments in time, budget, or resources. ERP implementation scope creep manifests when additional features, processes, or functionalities are introduced after the project has commenced, often without thorough evaluation or formal approval. While it’s natural for organizations to realize additional needs as the project unfolds, unchecked scope creep can lead to significant delays, ballooning costs, and strained resources. Moreover, it can dilute the project’s focus, making it challenging to meet initial goals.
Data Migration Challenges
Data migration, the process of transferring data from one system or format to another, is a critical phase in ERP implementation. It’s not just about moving data but ensuring its accuracy, consistency, and relevancy in the new system. Challenges in this area can arise from various factors, such as data duplication, inconsistencies in legacy systems, or incompatible data formats. If not addressed meticulously, these challenges can result in incomplete or erroneous data in the new ERP system, compromising its effectiveness and reliability. Further, cleansing and validating data to ensure its integrity can be time-consuming, and any oversight can lead to operational disruptions.
Redesigning Business Processes in Favor of Customization
Some organizations take on ERP selection and implementation, eyeing extensive customization. It’s a mistake to attempt to customize your new ERP system entirely to fit your current business process. In fact, by redesigning your existing processes to fit an ERP system, you are integrating tried and tested business processes from your industry and many others.
Senior Management Support
Company leadership who grasp the benefits of the new ERP system must offer support and share the vision with other business stakeholders. This helps to ensure organization-wide user adoption post-deployment. A key to ERP implementation risk is ensuring that your organization’s executives are fully on-board with the new ERP system, the implementation process, and implementation timelines. This includes allowing staff proper access to training.
Don’t rush final deployment if there is a pending issue remaining unresolved. By forging ahead, you’re welcoming the opportunity for your technology to hang operations in the balance until it’s been addressed. You certainly want to avoid being held up by unending testing, but you also want to ensure your system is pristine for final deployment. Allotting the appropriate time in your implementation schedule for thorough testing after each major installation stage helps you address problems and fix them as you go.
Don’t forget about the end-user. You and your colleagues who were part of the process know the system, but have you considered how departmental users will learn the system? Each department will have wholly separate uses for the new system, so work with your implementation partner to create in-depth training plans for each team. This fosters more widespread user adoption.
It often makes sense to appoint an internal subject matter expert with a grasp on your business’s processes and recognize the elements to making a smooth transition to the new system.
Lack of expert resources
Some organizations lack in-house ERP specialists with extensive experience in various disciplines. Having the right resources in line for your ERP implementation project is imperative to its success. Ensuring you have an experienced, knowledgeable team with different roles and responsibilities to dedicate to your implementation keeps your project running efficiently and ensures the entire process’s quality and reliability.
Effective Change Management
Continuing to work with the legacy applications your new ERP systems was installed to replace is a common mistake. Your new ERP system will improve business visibility and processes if you let it. You’ve invested time, money, and effort in long-term growth and development; protect your business with a solid change management strategy.
For lasting change, the emphasis must be on people and processes. Success follows from a structured, purposeful approach aimed to help transition people, teams, and organizations from their current state to the desired future state. Change management plans which address workforce transition to the new ERP system should include super-users and trainers designations.
These implementation concerns and many more are mitigated with proper knowledge and preparation leading into the project. Make each a priority at every stage of the process and your organization can enjoy implementation success.