Fall, a time for pumpkin picking, apple cider, hayrides, roasted corn and a fan favorite amongst the kids…Halloween. As adults, the spooky aspects of this frightful time of year don’t seem to faze us. No matter how many ghouls and monsters we see roaming that misty 31st night we simply do not get scared.
Now let’s take a moment to think about the central hub of a company, its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system – the very thing that is the main focus of every operation. An ERP system is the tool needed to provide the input for everyone, from management to the sales force, with the ability to understand what is happening with customers, suppliers and employees. Despite an ERP’s pivotal role, many companies do not succeed when it comes to implementing a new ERP system or upgrading an existing one .
On second thought, this is something to give us all potentially ghoulish nightmares this Halloween season. Instead of running away from these implementation nightmares, we suggest fighting them head on. Here are 3 ways to avoid ERP implementation horrors this Halloween season and beyond.
Stick to a Plan
Just as in how the kids plan out their neighborhood candy routes, every great ERP implementation has a plan, and the more detailed the plan, the better the outcome. A comprehensive plan is necessary for a successful implementation, and the best ERP implementations rely on this from the beginning. You must be tightly aligned with your vendor partner in knowing and planning out what both parties are looking to accomplish. For example, you must demand that your vendor has a thorough understanding of the following:
- Overarching business objectives for the implementation
- Specific requirements that must be met
- A comprehensive understanding of not just your business, but also that of your industry
- A clear sense of which business processes need to be re-engineered versus which ones don’t
Keeping in mind that although the vendor partner must hold up their end of the bargain, you must recognize there is still plenty of work for you to do in the early planning stages. This includes making sure your senior executive team is involved from the start – particularly when it comes to agreeing on the overarching business goals for the implementation. The senior executive team should also closely monitor progress throughout the implementation process, both by staying in close contact with the vendor, and by communicating regularly with employees directly involved. Plan for the future as well – your plan should include scaling in phases with new and evolving technologies and ERP versions that will prove crucial to your organization’s current and future success.
Functionality versus Total Cost of Ownership
Every trick-or-treater knows that with the right costume, they are likely to get a few extra pieces of candy in their trick or treat bags. The same goes for your business- choosing the right ERP Vendor and the best ERP System for your organization based on critical criteria will help you get the most out of your ERP software selection. If you are a first time buyer you may assess ERP priorities different then second or third time buyers. According to Aberdeen “Are You Asking the Right Questions When Selecting An ERP System?” (June 2015), Here are important criterion’s to remember when choosing software:
– Ease of use
– Total cost of ownership
– Must be an integrated suite
– Speed of implementation
– Ability to tailor functionality without programming
– Global capabilities
– Relationship with vendor
Test, Test, Test
You wouldn’t let your kids dive into their candy bags before examining it, would you? Not taking the appropriate measures before implementation works the same way. Not testing before going live is an almost guaranteed way to achieve implementation failure. The purpose of testing is not to see if the products works, but to see if the system meets all requirements needed in order to produce results, to validate that the users have a thorough understanding of the system, its functions, and their own respective roles.
As you can see, it is very important to make sure you cover all 3 of these implementation to-do’s if you want to avoid an ERP implementation horror. Halloween may not be frightful for the average adult, but to a business owner, the horrors of a failed implementation can be very scary. Be aware, use proper planning, and educate yourself and your employees before implementing an ERP system.
–Bob Vormittag Jr., VAI Project Director