||5 Critical Success Factors When Implementing ERP Software
|So you have finally made that long-pending decision of adopting an ERP Software solution in your organization but seldom do you realize that this is just a small first step towards achieving your objective of reducing operation costs and increasing your profit margins.
|Let’s uncover 5 critical success factors related to the Implementation phase of an ERP that may help you avoid many common pitfalls and unnecessary delays normally associated with this phase:
1.Appoint a Project Team:
An effective internal ERP implementation team is the foundation for a successful implementation phase, without which the process could potentially run into lags, delays, cost overruns and more often than not, an unsatisfied management frustrated over even wanting to adopt such a change in technology.
Building an internal team that is fully engaged in the process and comprises of people who helped select the ERP, top executives and representatives from all departments across the enterprise as well as other senior management and leaders, can help guide this process through right till the end.
ERP implementation phase requires a complex two-way communication between the service provider and your organization which is why the team must be led by a dedicated project manager, capable of providing leadership, accountability and transparency, allowing the entire ERP implementation team to remain focused during their interaction with the chosen ERP software provider or software vendor.
2.Appropriate Required Resources:
It is important that companies allocate significant internal and external resources for ERP implementation. From installation to data migration and from user training to “go live” deployment, the internal business resources are critical. The internal IT department must ensure that all required per-requisites including any hardware and minimum system requirements are in place prior to the arrival of the installation team to avoid costly re-schedules or last minute procurement headaches. Also the project team must collaborate, coordinate and communicate effectively with the IT department and the service provider to avoid any miss-communication between the two.
Another most neglected and precious resource is the organization ability to manage its time. However, this resource is most critical in ensuring that the transition to a newer system is expedited in a timely and smooth manner. The implementation phase involves interaction and co-ordination between various departments and business units, which requires serious commitment for all involved in this stage to set aside appropriate time slots for the activities to be successfully carried out within the scheduled time-frame.
3.Focus on Change Management:
An organization moving onto to an ERP platform leads to definitive changes in its culture, approach, process flows, business practices and overall communication. The more prepared and ready an organization is for these changes, the easier it is for the transition to take place successfully. Here, it is necessary to educate all key members, employees, executives and senior leaders of this change so the adoption is as smooth as possible and the whole organization is comfortable with the idea and there is no reluctance and obstacles experienced from within that may most likely disrupt the implementation flow.
4.Prepare for Data Migration:
Now that the organization is embarking on a new sophisticated system, it gives them a chance to start on a fresh note by ensuring the new data entered is most accurate and reliable. The data migration process begins much before the implementation phase wherein irrelevant and outdated data can be evaluated and discarded and the appropriate data to be migrated be thoroughly organized for swift and easy entry onto the new system.
Lastly, an implementation can be said to be successfully complete only when the end-users are technically competent enough to use the ERP software with absolute self-reliance and authority. For this reason, it is pertinent that the whole organization, especially the department heads get themselves educated and take full advantage of the various training workshops, webinars, online courses and training manuals provided by the software vendor at various stages of the implementation phase. The project management team can play a vital role in organizing the various users in batches or small groups on a roster basis that is designed in such a way that regular work routines are not disrupted.
At the end of the day, an ERP Software solution when truly implemented has the potential to deliver real results in the form of reducing operation costs, increasing profit margins and helping the business grow to new levels. However, keeping the above critical factors in mind will help ensure that your organization not only implements an ERP software solution that is technically sound and workflow efficient, but one that is implemented promptly and efficiently with most economical use of all available resources and is also accepted and understood by your employees.