5 things to do “before” you start searching for an ERP

By A R  |  10 Oct 2019  |  Popular, ERP, Growth, 

Hey there, if you are reading this, it means that there is a high probability that you want information about the right things to do when you are planning for an ERP implementation or maybe you are just here to add more to your knowledge, either ways welcome to our site.

What this post is about?

This post deals with exercises that must be carried out internally in an organization, before any external party is involved. This is list has been compiled based on our experiences in the field with companies like your. 

This guide is applicable on ERP implementations of all scales. Please feel free to use this article as a primer for your preparation for the project.

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.” - Dave Barry 

Have clear objectives

An enterprise wide system deployment is nothing short of a highly complex, coordinated, “combined arms operation” with a substantial dollar value associated with it. And if you account for the amount of time that’ll need investing into it, this entire process will amount to a small fortune. How then do you ensure that you are doing all the right things? Good question, I'm glad you asked.

Start with aligning this process with the projected, future plan of your organization. Your primary mission directive is to make sure that the ERP that you select is in line (in terms of capabilities) with your organizational, long term goals. It’ll then be a good idea to chart out how the adoption of the new ERP will affect your internal processes, your vendors and your customer experience.

Lead the cohort from the front

The leadership of your organization should have a clear understanding about the reasons for the new ERP adoption and advantages that will come with it. I advise you to prepare a clear outline for your company stakeholders it’ll be nice if you can do a cost benefit analysis (albeit basic if you prefer to go lite for the first version) that the adoption of the new ERP will bring to the organization. This activity will make the adoption process much more positive and fast paced.

Budget financially for it

It is highly advised that ERP implementations be budgeted for a financial year. At this moment it is advisable to engage a consultant for getting an accurate estimate. The price for EPR systems vary based on the licenses, professional services, customisation and support. I have covered this in a bit more detail in a separate post, you can read it here. As you come up with a budgetary figure, make sure that there is some percentage of “wriggle room” in there.

Set up project management protocols

I cannot begin to tell you how much time and effort this action is going to save you during the entire implementation process. You begin by creating an internal committee comprising of:

a) Product Owner - This member is responsible for the successful execution of the entire project. Ideally, this member is in a position to take decisions and/or access stakeholders directly if a decision needs escalation.

b) Scrum Master - This member is responsible for keeping the day to day affairs of the project in check. They will eventually become a critical point of contact with the commissioned vendor and your team, making sure that the project is on track with minimum possible deviation from “Plan”.

c) Champions - These members are departmental subject matter experts with complete knowledge of the processes and procedures of the department. Champions are the ones who will be consulted for the departmental requirement gathering and workflow creation

Have clear timelines

Clear and defined timelines are a hallmark of a plan that has the highest possible probability of working out. Start by a clear timeline on when you’d want to go live with your new ERP. You will need to revisit this after the discovery process with your ERP implementation partner. Based on how hard your go live date is, you will either be able to go live in phases across your organization or, in an atomic switch from the old system to the new ERP in one shot.

These 5 points aren't much but will have critical impact on the overall process of ERP implementation in your organization. If you found this piece helpful and would like to read about how to proceed from here, read my article in this series here.  

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