Is that ERP solution right for your business? Part 1.
Deploying an ERP system is an expensive proposition, not just in terms of licensing and maintenance costs, but in terms of dedicated resources and most of all, time. Yet all too often, organisations dazzled by vendor promises and hype fail to come up with a viable long-term roadmap.
So to help organisations increase the odds of a successful ERP deployment, take a look at the following tips.
Know your Business Strategy.
Without a doubt the most important element. In knowing which solution, and more importantly which provider to choose, you must have a clear understanding of your business’ strategy. You must fully understand the internal and external environmental factors that affect you, your team and your businesses short and long term goals. Too many times businesses get drawn into focusing on the features and benefits of the solution presented in front of them, and subsequently lose site of the need to align the solution to the business plan.
Get cross company support.
Before commencing on the procurement process, it is essential that you understand the issues and pains experienced by the workforce and the executive. Input from the senior management team will drive the commercials, but the people on the ground hold vast amounts of knowledge that needs to be taken into account.
By engaging with as many employees as possible you will have a clearer understanding of the day to day issues that the existing systems could be creating. This will also serve to ensure you don’t copy any existing system design flaws into the new solution. In addition, lower level management resources tend not be involved with the selection process and this can lead to top heavy system that focus on Management Information rather than day to day shop floor business issues.
Make a clear and extensive list of requirements before you start looking.
Begin by carefully defining the scope of your project, and stick to it. Focus on core business processes you need to manage and develop the process flows surrounding them. As far as possible don’t redesign the system during the procurement, unless a particular vendor has technology that clearly warrants inclusion. Find an ERP system and provider that is closely aligned to your industry, with tools and features designed to solve your business requirements. The ROI and long-term benefits of a good fit will pay dividends later, and will also reduce the likelihood of an early system change in the future.
Carefully evaluate your options before selecting your ERP system.
Poorly run and ill-defined procurement and ‘system’ selection almost always leads to poor implementations. Unnecessary requirement definitions and vague priorities can lead to the wrong ‘vendor’ selection. Lack of participation and input from key stakeholders in the evaluation stage can lead to poor acceptance and user adoption. Also, do not forget about integration. An ERP solution that does not work with your existing legacy and/or critical office systems is not a solution but another expensive piece of unused or worse unusable software.
Want more? Check back next week for a further six tips on choosing the right ERP system.