Is there a “best practice” approach for an ERP implementation? Part 1.

Why implement a new ERP?

The most common “simple” answer is to combine and unify data, people and devices.

What is the first step?

The selection process is the first stage of most undertakings. During this stage a selection committee will review the key ERP players in your industry, evaluate the capabilities, review demonstrations, move through criteria review and requirements gathering, obtain testimonies and references and narrow the field.

The selection process is an important stage, but this is only the beginning.  The process of completing a design and implementation plan will set the stage for how successful an implementation will be.

What is the unified goal?

For most companies, bringing together their people, processes and data in a robust application with single point of entry and access from anywhere is the number one success criteria. However, ERP solutions touch every department and division within a business and many times goals may differ across an organization’s diverse branches.  Defining the “unified” goal may be one of the biggest challenges at the initial stage of design.

How are ERP implementation different today?

In the past companies may have focused on industry specific accounting solutions.  Today ERP solutions provide much more than a method to produce a profit and loss statement.   ERP systems provide solutions for every division in an organization.  The system implementation will impact dissimilar groups which may include sales, business development, HR, project management, product management and warehouse management.  The undertaking will involve internal customers and stakeholders from every area of the organization.  And, the measurement of the success of the project relate directly to the process improvements to be realized from the new ERP.

How to best support the undertaking?

Top down support is key to having a successful ERP deployment.  Leadership should gain understanding of each stakeholder group’s success criteria.    Using this knowledge the executives, working with the support of middle management, should drive the prioritization of the targeted improvements to be addressed and delivered by the implementation of the ERP.

What next?

Identifying key metrics; Assembling the  “A” team;  Defining Objectives;  Mitigating change resistance

Part two will address how to build implementation objectives, assemble your teams and prepare for change.

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