Digital transformation begins with understanding your business’s entire technology landscape and resources. With better visibility, it’s easier to assess your processes, measure the impact of your systems, and find areas for improvement.
This is where Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can have a significant impact.
ERP software acts as a foundation for building your digital progression. It collates your data, technologies, and systems into one centralized location to improve collaboration, update legacy systems, and increase process efficiency.
It’s little wonder that 50 percent of companies are in the process of acquiring or upgrading an ERP system. It’s a true competitive advantage - one that you can further by carefully mapping out how you implement a new ERP. In this blog, we’ll help you do just that, ensuring you choose and embed a solution that not only works but delivers tangible business value.
Pinpointing your initial ERP needs
Understanding why you need an ERP system and what functionality you require will help you craft a more effective implementation plan. For instance, if you know you need to customize your own features, you can better anticipate cost and development timelines down the line. This can streamline time-to-value upon implementation.
But before you can reach this point, you have to know what you’re looking for in your modern ERP system. Consider these potential requirements:
- You require modularity. Modern ERPs are built on strong modern architectures that implement microservices. If your organization is likely to see significant demands or seasonal variations on particular software modules or components, this architecture means you can more easily ramp up (or down) resources, without impacting the whole ERP.
- You need adaptability and customization. ERP software isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Equally, niche sector-specific ERPs (such as manufacturing ERPs) will require niche specialists to integrate and update them. When assessing potential ERPs, look at the developer and integrator ecosystem and make sure it’s robust enough for in-house or external experts to make development adjustments as you go.
- You need a straightforward platform. The easier it is for your end-users to work with your ERP software, the better. If the application has a steep learning curve or requires additional guidance or in-depth training sessions, your users may become frustrated. This can result in rogue processes or total rejection of the software - a costly failure.
How to craft your ERP implementation plan
Next, you must structure your ERP implementation plan.
This should go way beyond functionality. To start, determine the benefits and measurable impact on your organization’s strategic goals.
- List the benefits relevant to your stakeholders. Implementing a new ERP is a big investment. It will take a solid and convincing business case to get C-suite buy-in. So, map their needs and priorities onto the ERP’s capabilities. For example, if your C-suite is demanding better data quality and decision-making, connect the dots for them on how the ERP can deliver this.
- Outline KPIs. From here, create tangible metrics that allow you to measure your ERP’s success. For instance, if reducing or optimizing IT spending is an important business goal, a KPI might be, ‘Use ERP to highlight 5% cost savings/inefficiencies.’
- Conduct a discovery process. The C-suite has one view of what the company needs. Those on the front lines likely see a whole host of other problems and blockers for growth. Perhaps certain departments have data siloes that restrict knowledge sharing or decision-making. Or maybe your teams find it difficult to collaborate with team members and work across disparate tools. Find these blockers and determine how your chosen ERP can resolve them.
- Recruit change champions. With 70 percent of change management initiatives failing as a result of employee resistance, it’s important to get as many employees onboard as soon as possible. Creating a team of change champions will allow you to communicate the benefits of your ERP to as many people within your business as possible. They can also aid with training and guidance during the implementation rollout.
- Choose where to implement your ERP solution first. As with any technology rollout, don’t go too far too fast. Select a few areas or departments where the ERP will have the least disruption with the maximum return. After testing the waters, you can gather lessons learned and plan the rest of your implementation roadmap from there.
Making the right vendor choice
As with any new technology adoption, it’s not as simple as choosing a solution and pressing ‘go’.
It’s important to take the time to outline your business’s specific needs, as well as anticipate any changes your organization or sector may face in the years to come. For instance, do you plan to scale your operations internationally? And, in doing so, will this increase the number of data regulations you must comply with?
Understanding these expectations will help you choose a vendor that provides the service you need and the expertise to implement it successfully.
If you’d like to see how we can help you on your digital transformation journey, reach out to Success Software Services today.