One of the most common concerns we hear from business leaders considering implementing a new ERP system is — what if the implementation fails?
The potential pitfalls of ERP projects include extended timelines, overrun budgets, and insufficient training – just to name a few. To avoid these pitfalls and others, it’s important to have a plan in place prior to starting your project. With over 25 years of experience implementing ERP solutions, we’ve perfected a six-step timeline that over 250 businesses have used for successful go-lives.
Here is our proven six-step implementation timeline.
1) Create an ERP Project Team
Dedicate a few key individuals in your organization to act as your ERP project team. These individuals will work closely with your solution partner to determine requirements, implementation goals, and key ERP functionality. We recommend members from all levels of your business from the C-Suite to day-to-day users who will have varying insights on what is important for your project and be able to make decisions quickly.
Within this group, it’s critical to select an internal project manager that can facilitate resources and ensure subject matter experts are available in sales, purchasing, supply chain, manufacturing, quality control, accounting, and finance throughout the project. Having one person responsible for aligning internal resources will help ensure timelines and requirements are met.
2) Develop an Implementation Plan
During this step, you should work closely with your partner to prepare a project methodology to set the phases for your ERP project, as well as checks and balances to keep things moving forward. This helps to manage expectations and create alignment for you and your partner around resourcing and timelines.
At VistaVu, we prepare an implementation methodology that dictates what work will be done and when. Each part of this process features stage gates that require signoffs before moving forward. These gates include Scope, CRP, Testing, and Deployment, which keeps the project on track and helps to communicate any concerns early.
It’s important to raise any questions or issues you have about the project prior to signing off so that items can be addressed before moving forward with the plan.
3) Activate Data Migration
One of the most critical steps in an ERP implementation is transferring the data from your legacy system to your new ERP system. At VistaVu we conduct this by going through two critical deliverables:
- Analyzing and mapping your data to find redundancies prior to migration
- Working with your team to determine which data we should migrate to your new system, and which data can be left behind
Your solution partner will use their expertise to determine whether to use your ERP’s migration tool, manually import your data, or both.
4) Train Your Team
With your data migration complete, it’s time for your team to learn how to properly use your ERP to prevent productivity loss and frustration. Make sure the partner you choose prioritizes training and enablement as this is one area where many projects go astray.
Your team should be trained based on their roles so that they understand how the ERP helps fulfill their unique responsibilities. Look for a partner that provides ongoing training and refreshers to ensure new updates are utilized to their full potential, post-implementation.
This is the point that you and your team will have worked hard to reach! After weeks, months, or sometimes even years of planning, preparation, execution, monitoring, and adjustments, your ERP system should be officially available for your users to initiate actions and transactions within the new system. By now, you will have migrated your data, trained your team, and tested the system for process accuracy.
6) Evaluate Your Success
After go-live, you should continue to evaluate the success of your implementation to discover what’s working and what’s not so you can iterate and make changes accordingly. It’s common for companies to split out their ERP project into phases to maintain timelines and budgets. Your ERP solution is built to grow with your company, so it’s important to continue identifying areas of improvement or new tools you can leverage, and work with your partner to create a plan of action.
The above steps might seem daunting as you consider moving forward with replacing your legacy system or upgrading your ERP solution, however working with the right partner can help ensure a smooth project and a better return on your overall investment.
At VistaVu Solutions, our experienced implementation team is known for implementing SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Business One in 12 weeks or less. Post-implementation, our customer success teams provide ongoing training through weekly Q&A Cafes and self-service resources. Customers also get assigned a dedicated Customer Success Manager who works with clients to help them better leverage system capabilities and provide insights on ways to improve business operations.
To learn more about the implementation process, check out our guide ‘How to Grow with an ERP: A Guide for Midsized Companies’.
Ready to get started on our ERP project? Reach out to our team today.