So you’re ready to upgrade your ERP system or adopt an ERP system for the first time. That’s amazing news! In either case, we call this “ERP implementation”.
Implementing a new ERP system is as exciting as it is anxiety-inducing. A successful ERP implementation has the ability to reinvent your business processes, provide faster communication, keep employees safer, and allow your staff to make data-based decisions using real-time data.
Fortunately, you don’t have to plan, select, implement, and review your ERP system alone. Here’s our 12-step guide to successful ERP implementation.
What Is ERP Implementation?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation is the process of installing and configuring an ERP system within an organization to streamline its business processes.
An ERP system is integrated software that helps your organization manage various aspects of its operations. ERP systems integrate with finance, human resources, manufacturing, inventory, supply chain, customer relationship management (CRM), and more.
ERP implementation involves a series of steps to ensure that your ERP system is tailored to the specific needs of your organization and effectively supports its operations.
How to Implement an ERP System: 12 Steps
Implementing an ERP system is a complex task that requires the help of your IT department, leadership teams, employee input, and more often than not, an ERP implementation consultant.
Here are the steps you can expect during your ERP implementation process.
1. Project Planning
The first step is to create a project plan that outlines the scope, objectives, timelines, and resource requirements for your ERP implementation. During this stage, you’ll assign roles to key stakeholders. The project plan serves as a roadmap for the entire process.
2. Needs Analysis and Requirement Gathering
Next, identify the specific needs of your organization. What are your current business processes, data requirements, and what are your desired outcomes? Gather input from different departments and stakeholders to define the system’s requirements.
3. Software Selection
There is an abundance of ERP software to choose from. These types of ERP systems are divided into ERP tiers, and each has optional modules that may raise the cost of your system.
Your ERP consultant can help you choose an ERP software solution that aligns with your organization’s needs and objectives. Consider factors such as the size of your business, functionality, scalability, compatibility, vendor support, and cost.
4. Customization and Configuration
This part of ERP implementation will require your IT leadership and ERP consultant to collaborate. Your ERP implementation consultant will know what’s possible and how to work with IT to implement your needs.
Together, they will customize and configure the ERP software to match your business requirements. This may involve adjusting workflows, data fields, and other settings to align with existing processes.
5. Data Migration
Data migration can be a nail-biting process. You don’t want to lose any data or have to try to reorganize it later. Again, IT and your ERP consultant will have to collaborate to transfer existing data from legacy systems or databases into the new ERP system. Data migration is a critical step to ensure that historical data is available in the new system.
Rigorously test the ERP system to identify and address any issues or errors. This includes unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance (UA) testing to verify that the system functions correctly.
Change can be overwhelming for employees. If they don’t know how to operate your new ERP system, you could face resistance and prolong the implementation process.
Be sure to provide ample, supportive training to employees and key users who will be using the ERP system. Training ensures that staff can effectively use the system and take full advantage of its features. With the right training, they could even be excited about it.
Roll out the ERP system to the entire organization. This may involve a phased implementation in different departments or locations, depending on the organization’s size and complexity. Ask your ERP consultant what has worked for similar clients in the past.
9. Monitoring and Support
After deployment, continuously monitor the ERP system’s performance and provide ongoing support to resolve any issues or address user concerns. This includes software updates and maintenance.
Over time, you can fine-tune your ERP system to improve its performance and alignment with changing business needs. You may need to scale up as your business grows, make changes to configuration as needs change, or simply further customize your processes to reduce costs and raise efficiency.
11. Change Management
You’ll need to Implement change management strategies early to help employees adapt to the new system and its processes. Always communicate the benefits of the ERP system and address resistance to change. Getting employees on board is a huge step toward a successful ERP implementation.
12. Post-Implementation Review
After your initial ERP implementation is complete, conduct a review of the process to assess whether it met the objectives, delivered the expected benefits, and identify areas for improvement.
Don’t Go ERP Implementation Alone
ERP implementation is a complex and resource-intensive process that requires careful planning, dedicated project management, and close collaboration between the IT department and other departments.
A well-executed ERP implementation can lead to increased operational efficiency, improved data accuracy, better decision-making, and enhanced competitiveness for the organization. However, it also involves challenges, and the risk of disruption to business operations if not managed effectively.
Learn how the experts at Godlan Consulting can help. Contact us today.