An Overview of Implementing ERP into Your Business Process

Any company that has committed to an ERP implementation has signed up for a pretty monumental task. Not only do these implementations take between a few weeks to a year to complete, but they also cost thousands of dollars. As you might imagine, a process this long and costly is far from simple; there are a lot of moving parts, from establishing the company’s overall goals to resource allocation to reassigning key employees to the implementation process.

That’s why a detailed plan is essential, along with expert guidance to ensure everything is done correctly. If a company doesn’t have anyone to guide them through the implementation, NetSuite partnership firms like Entartes can fill the knowledge gap to ensure the best possible outcome.

An Overview of ERP Implementation into Your Business Process

ERP implementation best practices

Having a well-developed plan is a solid start, but there are several other crucial aspects of a successful ERP implementation.

Be intentional when migrating data.

Even if your company isn’t massive, the amount of data that is being migrated could be. If your team will be handling years’ worth of data on customers, orders, sales, etc., there’s a good chance that it contains inaccuracies, duplications, and other errors that compromise the data’s integrity. The question is, when the data is being moved to the new system, will you simply migrate everything as-is, or will you take the opportunity to clean it up first? It’s recommended to sort through the data before migration rather than take a wholesale approach.

Take your time when developing a plan.

Regardless of how long the ERP implementation will take, you should start by devoting plenty of time and resources to the planning phase. Even if the end goals are clearly defined, you should also know exactly who’s going to do what, and when they should have it completed. Plus, it’s important to know where the necessary resources will be coming from – you don’t want the implementation to falter halfway through due to inadequate funding or personnel. Remember: good results are more likely to come from a good plan.

Emphasize communication

Since the typical ERP implementation is carried out by a separate team that was formed for just that purpose, it’s easy to make the mistake of letting the team do their own thing separately from the rest of the company. However, that won’t serve your short-term or long-term goals. In the short term, a lack of communication could make other employees feel like they’re left out of the loop. It could also prevent the implementation team from discovering potential gaps in the plan, and course-correcting as appropriate. In the long term, disinterested employees would probably take longer to incorporate the ERP into daily workflows, and they wouldn’t be likely to offer as much constructive feedback.

Instead, it’s recommended to keep everyone in the organization informed about the implementation’s progress. Senior executives should get regular progress reports, and employees should be involved in early testing and feedback. With this approach, you’ll be less likely to run into certain issues later on.

Provide support and training

An ERP implementation isn’t over once the new system has been deployed – quite the opposite. The end goal isn’t simply to deploy the ERP; the goal is to fully implement it within the company, and that includes making sure it’s incorporated into workflows across the organization.

After deployment, the focus should switch to providing end-user training and gathering feedback. It could be that the implementation team identifies areas that need additional customization or that employees require support with troubleshooting for some time after deployment.

If your plans included this phase (which they hopefully did), there would already be resources secured for support and training. There should also be an understanding that, even though the ERP is supposed to increase efficiency over the long run, the first few months could be a bit rocky. Employees need time to adjust; even once they’ve learned the system’s technical functions, they’ll also have to learn how to use them to their full advantage.

ERP implementation FAQ

ERP implementations are complex, especially since they can vary so much in scope and purpose. Here are a few questions that are most commonly asked by organizations that are considering ERP implementation.

How long does ERP implementation take?

That would depend on the complexity of the implementation process. As mentioned above, large-scale ERP implementations can take a full year to complete. For most organizations, however, the process usually takes six months or less (not including follow-up training and support).

Is there a difference between cloud ERP vs. on-premise ERP?

The main difference would be the potential need for more equipment, facilities, or installation costs for on-premise ERP. If the organization’s current facilities can’t accommodate the new system, they’ll have to invest in additional infrastructure; this should be taken into account during the planning phase.

What is phase 1 for ERP implementation?

Before the implementation begins in earnest, it’ll be preceded by the planning phase. During this phase, the plan is fully fleshed out, and the project team is put together. This usually involves pulling key employees from their regular responsibilities and assigning them their roles within the implementation team.

Is it possible to avoid delays?

Some delays turn out to be inevitable, but others are preventable with a good plan. A lack of clarity could force the implementation team to stop and recalculate their objectives, which would be completely avoidable with a fully developed plan.

How important is executive sponsorship?

No matter the size of the ERP implementation, it shouldn’t be started without executive sponsorship. If that isn’t lined up from the beginning, there’s a very real risk that the entire project could fail due to inadequate funding.

The takeaway

ERP experience within your organization isn’t necessary in order to find success; you just have to make sure that you’re working with someone who does have experience. With a combination of careful planning, well-defined objectives, and adequate resources, your company will have a much better chance of enjoying the benefits of ERP.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan