It’s very well known that implementing an ERP is neither a cheap, nor super quick process. Though, many executives tend to choose a certain ERP over the other due to many factors, including the brand appearance in the market. Let’s discuss how we can choose an ERP to specifically fit the organisational requirements, and how we can get the most ROI out of it
Carefully choose your ERP system.
The process starts way before actually implementing your ERP. Choosing an ERP that best meets your specific company requirements can be a staggering job that could take a lot of time. Thus, several IT managers seize the first solution they see then and end up disappointed.
To begin with, put down a list of the company’s major needs. What tasks do I need my ERP to perform? Draw a map of your entire business process, and see how an ERP should affect it, the clearer you are, the better. After figuring this out, start researching as many ERPs as you can, then come up with a list of your top 3-5 vendors. At that stage, start taking your needs on a micro level. Compare features, pricing plans, deployment fees, monthly maintenance, subscriptions, extra services (shall you need any),… etc.
Look at the total cost of ownership.
An ERP system could be deceiving at first, but after fully implementing it, you might face some challenges that could surprise you. Many ERPs require a hefty increase in your staff to be well maintained. You might find out that you are actually paying for an ERP, and not using more than 25% of it’s features. Take your time making sure of every prospect of the process, before you pick the company that best meets your criteria, and go on forward.
Hardware could also be a big part of the equation. Several ERPs, especially non-cloud based ones, require a lot of high end and expensive hardware to be fully deployed in a company. From dedicated in house servers, to complex networking, all could cost your company a serious amount of $$$. Look very closely at the TCO before deciding to use an ERP over the other.
Pick the right vendor for your company and industry
The provider is a big, ongoing part of the process. When you receive a proposal from a certain vendor, think of it as a marriage proposal. The vendor you are about to choose will be fully integrated with your company for many years to come, and this means that your business, staff, and management will suffer for a very long time if you make the wrong choice.
When implementing an ERP, it’s crucial for your provider to know your industry inside out. This will, at least, double up the speed of the implementation process, and could save you thousands, or sometimes millions, of dollars spent on customization. Every industry has its own requirements, from terminology to specific functionality. A generic ERP will leave you with many gaps and needed customizations. Whether you are in a specialized vertical such as footwear or are a well-known apparel manufacturer, make sure your vendor is an industry expert.
Data quality Vs. Data flow
While an ERP system will help you coordinate where, when, why and how your data flows, the value of the system is actually decided by the quality of the data flowing through it. The best way to make the most out of your ERP is to, firstly, perform a data quality audit before implementing it. After that comes the process of defining the business intelligence rules that can be embedded into your ERP. Also, you should invest in an ongoing data quality solution, or make sure your ERP has a built in Data Quality Module.
Customize the dashboard to fit your particular needs.. Down to the tiniest details.
It’s very challenging to find a plug-and-play ERP solution that can take on all of your needs, and if you lack that in an ERP, you will end up doubling the confusion & work for your employees. We highly advise you make sure your vendor is flexible enough to accomplish your customization. After taking care of that, work closely with them, and go down to the very little details to achieve the perfect unique fit for your company.
Develop a clear Road Map
This will ensure everybody in the agreement the smoothest process possible. Make weekly, monthly,and even annual goals, and make sure your senior management, and your vendor are on board with it. This is the abiding contract that can help you track the progress of your development process in very little milestones. You may adjust it in minor tweaks & mods, but try to avoid redirecting the whole project elsewhere.
It’s highly advised to deploy your ERP solution one step at a time. You may start with moving all of your accounting & financial processes to the system, then a week later, implement the sales & HR, and so on. This will help your personnel take their time getting used tom the software, and will limit the resistance of the implementation dramatically.
Invest in an ongoing training plan.
This could be considered as the most critical part of the entire deployment process. Skipping training will cause a lot of set backs & will increase the confusion of your staff. It’s crucial you make sure your staff is highly trained to use the system in it’s most efficient & effective way. Also, training will help you save a tremendous amount of time & money. Make sure every person on each level of usage is trained enough to use the ERP properly, Starting from Management, going down to your office janitors.