Implementing a new Cloud ERP system is challenging at the best of times. There's a lot to consider. Your new ERP system will impact every aspect of your organisation and will require a large investment of time and resources.
A poor implementation can cause more work down the line, but with the right planning, you can look forward to a smooth Cloud ERP implementation.
Here are 7 tips for success:
1. Define your business requirements
With hundreds of ERP platforms available, each with varying capabilities, it makes sense to outline your requirements thoroughly before you begin your selection process.
It will set the foundation for your configuration design, impacting your project scope, timelines and budget. Time invested in this phase is time well spent.
Audit your current systems and processes, and think about what solutions will streamline your organisation in the future.
2. Embrace the cloud
More and more organisations are switching to hybrid or full cloud solutions for the many benefits they bring. These include cost-effectiveness, scalability, reliability and flexibility.
Cloud is often less customisable compare to other options as it comes with "out of the box" functionality. But if the solution already caters for your requirements, it means faster implementations as you do not need extensive configurations, easier upgrades and lower initial costs.
3. Seek management buy-in
Management buy-in and support is critical to your Cloud ERP implementation. With executive support, it will be a lot easier to secure everyone's commitment to the new system.
Set up regular meetings and make sure to involve the executive team. Share your excitement and what you'd like to see improved. Be transparent and realistic about your timelines and expectations.
4. Carefully manage project scope
If you fail to define your requirements closely enough, you risk incurring unforeseen costs from introducing new functionality, as this can have a detrimental impact on your ERP project.
By understanding your requirements from the start, you will be in a better position to obtain accurate pricing and timeline information from vendors.
Maintain realistic expectations of what's achievable within the budgets and timelines available.
5. Get your people on board
Many projects fail due to the lack of end-user buy-in, as they are essential to the success of your ERP implementation project. They must understand the benefits of the new system. So always assess the cultural changes required, and communicate it to set staff expectations.
Once the system is up and running the work doesn't stop there. Trying to cut corners on training is a false economy. A new ERP is a fundamental change, and employees who don't understand it will create inefficient workarounds, and incorrect data entries, causing errors in reporting.
People will forget how to do things, employees may leave, new issues will arise. Invest in training is best practice and capabilities of the system are clearly understood.
6. Work with an experienced ERP partner
It's hard enough leading your organisation through the change process of an ERP project. You also need to have a holistic view, such as the wider implications within your industry. It's what you don't know that could cost you, either in the real terms due to a failed implementation, or in opportunity costs, through lack of awareness of the options available. Choose an ERP partner who is experienced and can support you through the project.
7. Test thoroughly
Lastly, test, test and test! Even though your ERP partner will conduct testing, but you must take ownership and perform testing yourself before going live. It's always a good idea to have your end users go through the motions and surface any issues which may have been missed, as your end-users will know the business processes the best.
A Cloud ERP implementation project is challenging at the best of times. By following these strategies, you'll have the best chance of success. In some cases, investing in an ERP consultant can provide an outside perspective that you may not be able to source internally.
A new ERP system can provide your organisation with a platform for growth for many years. However, failure to get management or staff buy-in only leaves with you an expensive piece of unused software. Communication among team members is crucial.
Always maintain a realistic timeframe and realistic expectations throughout your project.
WinMan ERP has a long track record of assisting lean manufacturing, supply chain, distribution, and pharmaceutical businesses. Make sure to drop us a line if you'd like to discuss this some more.