7 practical tips to boost ERP success

June 2018

When implementing any type of ERP system, it’s essential that your team is prepared to handle the obstacles that could threaten the success of the project. And there will be many. According to our experts with decades of experience working in the industry, some of the most common missteps aren’t necessarily complicated.

1. Getting executive buy-in.

«Surprisingly, this is one of the most common issues that trip up our prospective clients,» said Scott Malia, COO of Forterro. «In some cases, companies have actually invested a significant amount of time — as many as six months — researching and assessing ERP solutions before finding out that a ‘yes’ from their executive team was not really a solid ‘yes.’»
Make sure you’re identifying the right people who need to approve the ERP implementation. Even if you have the approval of the CEO and top executive team, that may not be sufficient, Malia said. «Many clients mistakenly assumed that board members did not need to weigh in, only to find out later that they did,» he said.
It’s also important to clearly outline the overall cost of an ERP system to your executive team, Malia added. «Not only is ERP costly from a financial perspective—it will also require key members of your team to invest a lot of work hours to make sure it’s a success,» he said.

7 conseils pour booster le succès de votre projet ERP - Part 2
7 conseils pour booster le succès de votre projet ERP - Part 3

3. Select the right implementation team.  

With any type of major software project implementation, you’ll quickly find that it requires a significant time commitment from your internal team. With an ERP project that could last six months or more, you may be tempted to designate managers or team members who aren’t as busy as your top performers. That would be a mistake.
«It’s critical that you identify stakeholders who are intimately familiar with the areas that you are targeting, such as manufacturing processes, accounting, HR, project management, and marketing», said Håkan Magnusson, sales executive at Jeeves Information Systems AB in Sweden. «The most important people to get involved are those who know the work and do the work, not managers who don’t do the work. It should be key users—the people who know the functions and what needs to be done. Don’t rely on the perspective of the people who won’t be using the system.»
Once you have your team identified, it’s important to convey to employees and the management team the importance of making the ERP project a priority.

4. Engage users early in the process.

You can get all the way to the end of an ERP project, feeling great about the progress you made—only to experience resistance by users throughout the company.
Alexander Crettol, director of services at ProConcept in Switzerland advised to avoid the threat of slow adoption by engaging users early on. «The worst thing you can do is avoid getting people involved during the early stages, then having them refuse to take ownership of the new project,» he said. «It won’t work.»
While it’s unreasonable to think you’ll gain total agreement, you can start gaining buy-in by asking employees about the challenges they’re facing in their roles. «While you can’t make everyone happy, you can at least listen to them,» he said.
Even with the best efforts at engaging your team, expect some level of resistance. It’s human nature to resist change. With thorough training, you can help users gain the confidence to adapt to the new system.

7 conseils pour booster le succès de votre projet ERP - Part 4
7 conseils pour booster le succès de votre projet ERP - Part 5

6. Work with clean data.

Cleaning your data is another practical task that requires a major time commitment. However, the payoff is great, according to Crettol.
 «If you pair a new ERP system with obsolete data, you’re putting the project at risk for failure,» he said. «Your system won’t work properly if you start transferring data that contains duplicates from the old system.» 

7. Document your business processes.

It’s important to document your new business processes after undergoing the changes that will result from an ERP project. It’s another practical tip that can minimize complications further down the road, while providing an invaluable resource for your employees. «Don’t underestimate the disruption that can occur when employees change roles or leave the company,» said Jean Christophe-Piguet, a support consultant for ProConcept. «It can lead to a loss of information.»

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