Important considerations for implementing an ERP solution
How to accelerate delivery and make it a success
Now that you’re confident you’ve selected the right ERP software for your business based on your requirements, it’s time to implement the solution. Project success will often hinge on performance against the following three measures.
• Time – the speed of delivery (the earlier the project is delivered, the earlier the benefits will flow)
• Quality – the extent to which you achieve a fully integrated and functional solution
• Cost – the total impact verses budget
Delivery of a quality solution, on time, and within budget, is the holy grail of project management, and for a business-changing project like an ERP implementation, balancing these aspects are vital to success.
Here are some important considerations to keep things on track:
1) Choosing the correct implementation partner is a crucial element for accelerating success. They should have an in-depth knowledge of the software, have experience in implementing into other similar businesses within New Zealand, and have the resources available to meet your deadlines. What’s great about working with knowledgeable consultants is they’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. They can also spot risks and head off potential problems.
The right experts should also be able to integrate your chosen solution with other software where necessary, so your ERP system is sharing data across the business. Forging these connections can be tricky, which is why the right know-how lends speed to the process.
Finally, it’s critical to ensure the communication between internal and external parties is well structured. Look at using a single task management resource, combined daily stand up meetings, combined project reporting, and regular catchups for the broader stakeholder team.
Questions to ask any potential implementation partner:
We’ve put together a few questions you may wish to ask before deciding on a vendor or an implementation partner:
• How can you help us resolve the issues we’re currently experiencing?
• How many ERP implementations have you completed?
• Who have you worked with in the past?
• Is it possible to contact these companies for a reference?
• What is your implementation approach? What methodologies do you use, and how will this accelerate delivery?
• How long will the process take, and how will it impact our team? Which members of our team will you need to be in contact with?
• Who conducts training, and who determines if we need more?
• Who provides ongoing support, and how will we know when the implementation process is complete?
• Have you ever run into serious implementation problems? If so, how did you overcome them?
2) The commitment of your internal team members is necessary; do not underestimate the effort and time they will need to put into the project. Consider ways you can back-fill their current roles to free up time. Post go-live they will be your system experts, so ensure they are fully involved. A lack of availability of internal resources is the most common cause of project delay.
3) Test, test, test. Your implementation partner will help with building test cases, but your internal staff should execute the testing because they understand the business. Your internal team is the best source to ensure requirements are met for the business.
4) Keep managing scope. Changes affect all elements of the project and should be avoided if at all possible. Containing scope is one of the most important contributors to a successful project. Consider what emerging changes might be delayed to a subsequent (post go-live) phase of work. Often, once you start using your new ERP solution, the need for further customisation can disappear, as the functionality can be achieved in different ways.
Do you have questions about the implementation process? We’ve helped many New Zealand organisations with their ERP needs, including WaterSupply Products, Dental Council, and Ecopoint.
If you’re planning on implementing a new ERP solution and would like to speak to an expert who can help you accelerate the process by providing practical advice, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +64 9 977 5805.
Kevin is Solnet’s ERP Capability Manager and leads the team who manage project delivery of enterprise resource management and associated solutions based on Odoo (a leading open source ERP solution). In addition to his subject matter expertise, Kevin has spent almost 20 years in project management. He assists clients with strategy, implementation, and in achieving ongoing success, leveraging their ERP and business management software solutions.