Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions can totally transform a business for the better. Used to manage and integrate functional areas like marketing, finance, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing and inventory control, ERP software connects your staff to your technology and data, making a cohesive and streamlined process for productivity. ERP is a gamechanger. Yet despite this, many businesses have yet to attempt transforming their company due to fear of ERP implementation failure.
According to Gartner research, over 55 percent of implementations are doomed to fail. However, as Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” While implementation failure is possible, it is not probable if you learn how to avoid it. Keep reading to find out how to overcome your concern of a failed ERP implementation.
- Begin with the end-game in mind
The very first step to the entire ERP solution process is considering what it is that your business needs. However, don’t limit those needs just to the current state of your company, but also consider the trajectory of expected growth and anticipated change to the business. This way, you’ll focus on solutions which meet not only your current needs, but will also scale along with your business growth. Think with the big picture in mind from the beginning, and share these needs and goals with ERP vendors so that you end up choosing the right solution that will support and grow with your company.
- Choose your ERP system wisely
There are more options for ERP vendors than ever before, each making promises about what their system can do for you. Some are industry specific, while others are broad and encompassing, and the last thing you want is to have buyer’s remorse. Take the time to research and decide what is the best fit for your business. Make lists of your needs and requirements, prioritize these needs and then see which solutions align the best. Interview vendors, ask for demonstrations, client references, and reach out to other business associates to see what they think about their ERP vendors. Another option is to work with an independent ERP consulting firm who can recommend the solution that best fits your needs, based on their years of industry expertise.
- Allow your goals to govern the process
Setting goals in the beginning is necessary. This will keep your implementation team on track and not allow them to get distracted by other possibilities. Make sure that your team members know their roles and responsibilities. Along the way, executives and employees may make requests that will increase project scope and cost. Keep your big picture goal in mind and make sure these requests match it. This will help to keep you on time and on budget as you work toward the goal.
- Get everyone on the same page
And not only on the same page; get everyone excited. You need the support of everyone on your team from sales to the shop floor. The executive team must be involved for much more than budget approval; their input and backing throughout the ERP evaluation is critical, since it will help you to reach goals and excel in improving business processes. You need stakeholders at every level on board, since they are the ones who will be using the system day in and out; if they are not excited and well trained, they won’t use the system. Leave folks out, and you can forget about setting goals…because you are never going to reach them.
- Make training a priority
As stated earlier, if your employees don’t know how to use the system, they won’t. They will try to do things exactly as they did before, and your company will not advance. Training is paramount, and it should happen as often and for as long as necessary. If not, more time, resources, and money will be necessary to save your implementation from failure.
- Hire a consultant to assess risk
Sometimes, we need an outside set of eyes to objectively see the whole picture. Hiring a third-party expert to assess all different types of risks – including people, process, and technology will help you to avert those risks.
- Remain flexible
Time and money are things most of us never have enough of. However, it is important to be flexible with them when it comes to implementing ERP software. Costs for training, consultants, improvements to hardware and infrastructure, and other additional needs may arise during your discovery process. You want the best, so plan ahead for it. Also, don’t try to rush the implementation. Training and testing are important. So is testing again, and maybe again for good measure. Make sure everything is tested and everyone is ready before going live.
- Have support at the ready
Make sure you have selected an ERP vendor who will remain a business partner you after you go live. Maybe you assumed something, forgot to ask an important question, or perhaps training didn’t go as well as employees had thought. When a problem arises, you want to know that there is someone to support you without you having to scramble or pay an obscenely high rate. Remember that you’re not just selecting an ERP solution; you’re also selecting the business partner to help you not only implement the system, but to help support your company for years to come.
Keep your goal in mind, and don’t get caught up in the concept of keeping up with the Joneses. Finding an ERP system that works for your business from a vendor who will support your goals should be the priority. Godlan consultants are ready to help you realize your goals and see your company’s potential. If you are ready to gain a competitive edge and see how data can transform your business, visit www.Godlan.com or call 586.464.4400 today.