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Keys to Long-Term Success with Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

Keys to Long-Term Success with Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are complex software systems that connect with every moving part of your company, from manufacturing/logistics to accounting to HR to service to sales. An effective ERP system can revolutionize your team's workflows, deliver better financial outcomes, and streamline operations. These systems can be easily adapted to accommodate growth and new products, help with scalability, and provide additional insights.

The right ERP system will vary by company and its specific needs, and it is important to utilize best practices and avoid common mistakes for successful execution and implementation. Our ERP implementation specialists have compiled a list of the most important best practices as well as common mistakes to avoid when considering an ERP implementation based on years of client experience.

Best practices for ERPs

Adequate needs assessment and including a cross-functional team in planning. The most critical first step of any major transformation or upgrade is doing your homework internally to reach a consensus on business needs from key departments and individuals. It’s important to define critical capabilities and features versus “nice-to-haves” with feedback from all the key players. Form a cross-functional team involving representatives from various departments to ensure all perspectives are considered when forming your roadmap. Include key stakeholders such as finance, HR, IT, operations, and user representatives in these discussions to explore all possibilities. Take detailed notes and include operational requirements for the business as well as technical specifications to be confident that the technology solution will be able to support your business.

Thorough research on ERP system vendors. Complementary to your needs assessment and including a cross-functional team in the formation of the roadmap is doing your homework externally to thoroughly research ERP vendors to make sure you find the right fit. A good place to start is basic market research to understand the available technology solutions and trying to identify industry-specific ERP trends. Basic market research will not always tell the full story and give you all the critical details you need to make your decision, so consulting an ERP specialist is another layer of insurance to find out more. ERP implementation specialists work with a wide variety of ERP systems and have an intricate understanding of the offerings and software implementation, which may give you a preview of what that process will look like.

These are just two of the most important best practices, and our recent webinar on ERP Best Practices and Pitfalls to Avoid covers a much more inclusive list in more detail so you can prepare your team for future ERP implementations.

Mistakes made during implementation

ERP systems implementations are extremely intricate and complex processes, and we’ve seen a multitude of mistakes. Some are more costly than others, but there are two mistakes to be aware of when exploring or conducting an implementation.

Poor change management and insufficient user training. An ERP implementation is a major infrastructure change that reaches all levels of your company. It requires buy-in at all levels, proper communication, and expectations management to be successful. Training your employees is one of the most critical components of change management and one of the most common mistakes we see during an implementation. Part of the issue is the tendency for companies to rush back to their “day job” rather than focusing on thorough training and learning the new software. Training should include activity and interaction beyond the most basic functions so that your employees are fully capable of using the new software as opposed to the software they are used to. 

Lack of contingency planning or not considering potential hurdles. Problems are inevitable, and one way to get ahead of them is to include the “what could go wrong” scenarios in your roadmap. Without thorough contingency planning, a problem could cause significant delays and, in extreme cases, derail your entire implementation. Just a few examples of potential issues: a loss of data during migration, delays or timeline issues, or integration problems with your new software and other applications utilized by your business. Companies that do not consider potential issues run the risk of a failed ERP implementation or at the very last a significant setback.

ERP implementation guidance from a proven provider

A successful ERP implementation is both challenging and rewarding. Utilizing best practices will help form the roadmap for seamless integrations, and understanding the common mistakes that many organizations make will help your business avoid them or at least plan for them. Whether you are considering an ERP implementation or looking to refine your current system, the insights shared during our webinar can help you get started.

Fill out the form on this page to connect with a member of our ERP implementation practice, or use the button below to access the webinar.

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