Going into a project to update your ERP software, it might be easy to think that everything can be managed internally. But if things do go wrong, ERP implementation consultants can rescue an overworked team.
Often people will assume that they can handle an implementation within their own company. The new software solution may seem simple enough, and the steps to implement the plan easy to complete. But if those on the project don’t understand all the aspects of an ERP implementation, they can soon realize they are in over their heads.
In these cases, hiring an ERP implementation consultant can save your organization from wasting more time and money. Below are six ways they can help.
1. Analyze What is Needed from the Project
When an ERP implementation consultant steps into a project that has continued too long without a successful result, they will first analyze the situation. They can look at several factors, including what software needs to be implemented, and what areas will be affected by the implementation.
As part of this step, the ERP consultant can also analyze the skill sets of those people already on the project team and determine if any roles need to be adjusted. This will ensure that every team member is being utilized to the best of their ability. Doing this step can also mean the consultant essentially goes back to one of the first parts of a project: asking department heads what is needed from the new software.
2. Discover and Fix Anything Going Wrong
If needed, the ERP implementation consultant will locate and fix anything that isn’t correct in terms of the project plan. They will sit down with key staff, executives, and department heads to discover what is occurring with the project, what went wrong, and who needs help.
When they find an issue, the consultant can work with that person or in that department and help accomplish a particular task. If the consultant discovers that more training is needed for team members to understand how to complete their tasks, they can assist with that as well.
If needed, your consultant can also roll up their sleeves and jump into your system to figure out what needs to be done and make it happen.
3. Get Everyone in Agreement
Sometimes what is holding up an implementation is not having everyone in agreement about the project. There could be a disagreement about what the new software will do, or who will use it. Perhaps people within the organization don’t agree on how processes are currently being run, or how they should run once the implementation is finished. There could even be a disagreement on the status of the project plan itself. If some of the team believe the project is nearly completed, while in truth there are still many steps to be done, this can hold up an implementation.
Any sort of confusion can stall a ERP implementation project. If some personnel want to work on later tasks, such as testing, while others are trying to complete earlier ones, such as configuring the system, you’ll find that nothing gets done at all. These opposite opinions can make it nearly impossible for the project to be completed.
In such a case, your consultant may go back to the drawing board and start the project almost at square one to get everyone in agreement, and then move forward from there. Merely having everyone on the same page can relieve an overworked team who was spending a lot of time working on the project, but not actually moving it forward.
4. Formulate a New Plan
Your ERP consultant can also formulate a new plan for your project — one that works through every single aspect of what must to be done. This step could be needed whether you already had a project plan or not.
Before making the new plan, your consultant may need to do some basic steps first, such as understanding what kind of training is required to get employees up and running on the new software. Or your consultant might need to get more information about the vendor, and what kind help they can provide during the implementation.
The consultant may also investigate what kind of time is available from the client side to realistically implement the software. Taking all of this information into account, your consultant will then create an ERP implementation plan that has every task needed to complete the project, including who will do those tasks. This will take your project from a confusion and turn it into a viable plan.
5. Drive the Project
Once they have a project plan in place that everyone has agreed upon, your consultant will continue to drive the project forward. This can often be the most important way that an ERP implementation consultant will help a stalled project.
Overworked employees may have been pulled off the project, or they could have become too involved in their own jobs to work on the implementation. Before starting an implementation, people usually don’t realize that working on an ERP project will essentially be another job.
It can take up to anywhere from 10% to 50% to even 100% more of an employee’s time to work on the implementation project. Because of this, a driving force is needed to keep everything moving ahead. Your consultant will essentially become a part of your team, working on the project from the inside out to keep it from stalling again.
6. Tie Up Loose Ends
Once the consultant has come in and done everything needed to get a delayed project moving again, their last task will be to make sure the implementation results in a successful go-live. This may involve locating and solving any unexpected problems, handling any customizations or integrations that are needed, and managing data migration.
Because of their experience, the ERP implementation consultant can look ahead to any foreseeable risks and ensure that solutions are in place – perhaps even before the problem occurs. This way, they can always stay a few steps ahead of the project and bring it to the completion that you were unable to reach before.
Attempted on their own, by inexperienced people, ERP projects can lead to an overworked team and an unusable software solution. Hiring a seasoned ERP implementation consultant can rescue your team and your project.