Key questions to ask before implementing ERP

The implementation of an ERP project can be compared to climbing to the top of Mount Everest, you need to approach it step by step before reaching the top. Also, look at it this way: You wouldn’t climb Mount Everest without an experienced guide.

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can help a company dramatically improve its operations and stay competitive, but it is a journey that must be undertaken with important considerations. From laying the organizational foundation to long-term planning, getting the most out of ERP means investing your time to ensure a successful business transformation. When embarking on your ERP journey, it is essential to choose a vendor who can meet your industry challenges and who will partner with you as a trusted advisor every step of the way.

There are 6 phases that make up any ERP implementation project: Approach, Discover, Design, Implement, Monitor and Evolve.

approach: At this point, you will need to begin developing the project plan, documenting internal and external participants, the resources required, and understanding the objectives.

Discovery: The discovery phase is an extensive research process that gathers information on an organization’s current systems and processes to detail the problem landscape before deciding on any ERP solutions.

design: This stage of the implementation process takes the results of the discovery and planning stages to develop a detailed functional design of how ERP will enable new workflows and processes from the end user’s perspective. This is where you decide whether to customize the ERP and if any third party integration is needed.

Application: This is not necessarily the date of the live broadcast. This means that your ERP application is developed and ready and will need to undergo testing. At this point, you should also begin to educate the stakeholders within your business about how it will be used and how it will affect the workflow.

Foreman: After commissioning, you will need to continuously test and monitor your ERP system to ensure it is fit for purpose and if there are any adjustments that need to be made.

has evolved: Implementing ERP is an ongoing project that you will need to keep working on. The development is based on the “Kaizen” method, which is related to continuous incremental improvement. For example, reports and analytics in an ERP system can help you identify areas where improvements can be made. This will ensure that you continue to reap the benefits of your ERP system and avoid a situation where you find that your business has changed but your ERP has not.

To help you on your ERP implementation journey, here are key questions to ask as you create your roadmap:

1. What is the status of my work?

A feasibility study explains the reasons for starting a project or task. It gives you the opportunity to identify your unique organizational pain points and challenges and explore the necessary software systems and features to add value to your business. In a 2020 survey by SYSPRO, it was shown that 60% of the manufacturing and distribution business has been affected by supply chain disruptions during the pandemic. Examples include highly integrated supply chains that rely on foreign raw materials, and manufacturers are required to explore initiatives such as ERP and e-commerce integration to deliver directly to customers. Implementing ERP with a clear business case study ensures that your company will achieve measurable business benefits from the ERP software.

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) feasibility study enables an organization to evaluate its identified benefits, costs and risks. It also provides the ERP project team with clear direction of priorities and responsibilities. For example, the cause of ERP failure can also be caused by the increased allocation of ERP. However, with a strong business case in place, the project team will be better equipped to determine where customization makes sense.

2. Where do I sit on the DX scale?

Understanding your company’s digital transformation journey is the first step in driving value through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Without understanding your current situation and putting a plan into action, you risk making high-cost, low-value decisions and investing in initiatives that your current technology cannot support. For example, assess whether you are a digital explorer? Where your business has identified the need to develop a digital strategy, but implementation is on a project basis. Or are you a digital disabled? Where your organization is severely disrupted in the use of new technologies. Understanding your company’s current digital maturity provides you with a roadmap to reach digital goals, plan for growth, and measure success.

3. Who is my ERP Dream Team?

The right team is essential to the success of an ERP project. Essentially, your team structure will consist of two layers – an executive team and a project management team. You want people with the right skill and understanding of the project, and these people may not always be visible in your organization. The team will likely include the executive sponsor who will provide high-level guidance for the project, the project manager responsible for the implementation process, the technical and technical teams that will carry out the tasks and the software resource or partners.

4. What does my change management strategy include?

If you want to make sure that the ERP system that will impact your entire organization and its operations is embraced, adopted and sustainable, then you need to prioritize change management. Changes across the organization can lead to disconnected employees and poor productivity if people struggle with new systems they don’t understand. This is why it is so important to have a solid change management plan that includes training, simplified communication, and clear processes and procedures.

It is especially important to have the support of leadership and staff within your organization. With this in mind, you should keep in mind the impact of these process changes on your end users. How could it change their daily tasks and responsibilities? Resources may be loaned to an ERP project, which means that the resources will need to be switched to compensate.

5. How do I define success?

Before you start implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, you need to determine what defines a successful project for your organization. To find out, you will need to identify key areas of improvement and attach milestones and metrics to those areas that can be measured along the way. Keep in mind that some metrics are easier to measure than others. For example, tasks such as better time management and personnel costs are measurable metrics, and increased visibility across the organization is a more abstract metric. No matter what you decide to measure, identify these metrics early in the project and communicate them to your team.

As with any major initiative, a carefully designed implementation plan is critical. Breaking the implementation into phases, each with clear goals, can maximize your success. In contrast, diving into ERP implementation without defining a clear project direction, scope, and structure increases the likelihood that you will encounter significant problems later.

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