If you are about to embark on an enterprise software project for your company, first and foremost on your mind is ensuring that it will be a success. But what is the definition of ERP implementation success?
A general definition of a successful project is one that goes live with the features that were expected, in the anticipated timeframe. But an ERP implementation goal for one corporation could be different from the goal set out by another corporation. The first step to creating a successful ERP project is knowing how to define what success means for your organization.
Not All Success Looks the Same
Keep in mind that there can be some variables in terms of the budget and timeframe. For instance, it may be reasonable to have new expectations as you go through the process of implementing the new software. During an initial assessment, you could find that more features or modules are needed. In such a case, additional time would be required by the team who is doing the programming and testing of the software.
Have a plan: What goes into a successful ERP implementation
Budget, scope, resources, functionality — all these things go into an ERP project. Knowing what the expectations are in each of these areas can help you define, and create, a successful result.
From the beginning, when you are just starting to look at the possibilities of the project, find out what is needed in terms of these areas. Have at least a general budget worked out. Know the scope regarding what areas of the organization are going to utilize the new software. Discover what resources and people will be needed for the project and for the implementation of the software once it goes live. Understand what functionality is needed and wanted from every team that will be affected by the updates.
5 Ways to Ensure an ERP Implementation Success
1. Have Clear Goals
One way to help ensure a successful ERP project is to clearly set goals as early in the process as possible. Going into the venture, your team may only have a vague idea of the areas of the organization, or processes, that need improvement. As they begin their assessment, it should become clear exactly what is needed from the ERP project to declare it a success once completed. Write down those goals and keep them posted so that you and your implementation team know when you have achieved them.
2. Get Everyone on Board
Nothing can run an ERP implementation off the rails like not having every member of the team on board with the project. This may not need to happen as the first step — perhaps you will need to show some people the expected capability from the update before they are ready to sign off. But if you are well into the process and key staff members are still against the change, you could be setting your project up for disaster.
You might think you can stumble ahead without their support, but what if those who oversee areas vital to the implementation are against the project? Can you count on them to give you the time and staff needed to properly implement the new software? The best thing to do is find out the reasons they don’t want the change, and do everything you can to show them why the project is for their benefit as well as the benefit of the entire company.
3. Be Negotiable
Though it’s ideal that you know up front everything that is needed for an ERP implementation to be considered a success, sometimes it’s necessary to update those expectations. Perhaps an important feature that was unknown in the beginning of the project has now become vital and is going to require more time and an increase to the budget. Maybe you learn that you should have added the payroll department to the rollout of the new software and adding them now is going push the timeline out further. The important thing is to look at the overall goals. If these additions mean a better result in the end, you can add them and still consider the project a success.
4. Know When to Say When
Creating an ERP implementation success sometimes means knowing when to say enough is enough. Yes, it may be necessary to add features and processes once the project has begun. But don’t get caught up in the desire to add every bell and whistle to the point where no end is in sight. Your team could find themselves implementing and configuring, then testing and again implementing and configuring on a never-ending loop. If this situation occurs over and over, that can be a sign of failure as much as no implementation at all.
5. Never be Afraid to Ask for Help
A vital key to a successful ERP implementation is the people who assist you with the project. It can be nearly impossible to do such a project alone, even on the smallest scale. Help can come in the form of a great implementation team on site that knows what is expected and how to facilitate the project to a successful outcome. This team can be made up of project managers and VPs from your organization, or it could also be an off-site company that specializes in helping corporations with software changes. Whichever kind of help you need, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
The best way to achieve to an ERP implementation success is to know what you want out of the project first, then take the steps necessary to ensure all factors are completed. At ERP Advisors Group, we have a long track record of helping our clients go live with their enterprise software. If you need help, get a free consultation from an experienced member of our team.