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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Five Critical Steps to a Successful ERP Software Implementation

Every day we hear stories of failed ERP implementations and their cost: the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars down the drain.

That’s chicken feed, compared to the cost of lost momentum. ERP – when done right –adds efficiency and value to just about every aspect of a business. So a failed or prolonged implementation destroys or delays that benefit. It’s like a race car going into the pits, the faster they come out with a full tank, the better they’re going to do…and the bigger the advantage they gain over competitors.

In that respect, ERP implementation teams – the techies who work with your company to plan, configure and install the software you’ve purchased and train your users – are like the pit crew. They are absolutely crucial to the success or failure of your ERP implementation. Yet, in many cases, they are an afterthought for companies in the throes of determining which ERP software to buy. The right implementation partner can get you up and running smoothly, help you realize the benefits of your ERP system quickly, and ensure that your unique business realities are addressed. All of which will save you time and money, as well as increase the Return On Investment (ROI) of your ERP system. By contrast, the wrong partner can result in higher costs and considerable disruption to your business, with lasting and cumulative effects.

Over the years, we’ve been able to identify several factors that contribute to a successful ERP implementation. By following these five steps as you go through the ERP selection and implementation process, you will dramatically improve the odds of generating the great results you expect.  Steps include:

1.   Pick your implementation partner as least as carefully as your software provider
2.   Use your implementation partners to make sure your technology is aligned with your people and processes.
3.   Scope the entire process, even if you are doing a minimal implementation.
4.   Do it right.
5.   Don’t look for the finish line.

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