With the majority of businesses moving to ERP software, many ERP project managers, CFOs, and IT executives aren’t sure how to prepare their businesses for an ERP implementation.
You Should Prepare before Going to Market or Implementing an ERP Software.
Process Mapping & Change Management
ERP solution require your business to change and optimize your business processes, and understanding your key business functions and absolute must-have features and process steps is a fundamentally important part of your preparation process for implementing an ERP solution.
Depending on whether you choose a Public or Private ERP solution will define the level of customization and flexibility within your ERP system. Regardless of whether or not your chosen ERP software is capable of being customized and the extent of its flexibility, customization is something that we recommend you avoid in order to reduce the cost and risk of implementing and maintaining your ERP solution.
Customization is something to be avoided as it can consume a high level of resources internally and from your ERP implementation partner, increasing the costs, risk, and timeline of your ERP implementation. At Arion ERP, we see a lot of companies believing that their ERP system should be configured or implemented according to the way their business currently operates. Whilst you will want your ERP system to fundamentally achieve your business process objectives, i.e. selling and fulfilling customer demand and accounting for it, the way in which it achieves those ends is best left to the way in which your ERP software operates as standard, or as close to standard as possible. In other words, to achieve a fast, efficient ERP implementation, you’re going to have to change some of your business processes.
Change management when done correctly can allow your new ERP, processes, and people to live in harmony. When done incorrectly, it can frustrate your employees and cause them to abandon or fail to adopt your ERP software.
We, therefore, recommend educating and implementing a change management strategy as early as possible. Some ERP implementation partners will offer change management services, whereas some organizations choose to take on this role themselves or hire a third-party change management consulting firm.
We also recommend building your ERP requirements and as-is process maps with a focus on the end result of your business processes, rather than strictly defining exactly what must happen in sequential order throughout your business processes.
Prepare your ERP Software Implementation Team
As we’ve touched on in the previous section and in later sections, in all technology implementation processes, people are key to a successful ERP software implementation and therefore they should be a critical part of your preparation process too.
When planning for your ERP project, consider if you have built the right team and have included all of the decision-makers and different stakeholders in your business. During the preparation phase of an ERP implementation, we typically recommend and see business involving the following stakeholders:
it’s critical to have C-level executive sponsors from your organization to be bought into the process in order to help inspire and motivate your teams, but also we recommend having involvement from your ERP software vendor and partners’ C-level teams too, in order to ensure alignment at all levels and to ensure you have coverage and buy in when times get tough.
more and more we see business users from finance & operations leading ERP evaluation and selection processes, whereas previously IT generally spearheaded the process. Whilst there is no problem with this, it’s definitely worth ensuring that IT is on board with the process, during and after selection. As we’ll cover below, cybersecurity and bandwidth are key, as is integration between your ERP and other business applications.
ERP Software Cybersecurity
ERP solutions enable organizations to easily access data and action critical business processes wherever they are in the world, using whatever device suits their working style. That said, ERP software is something you need to properly prepare for and plan when it comes to cybersecurity.
In the On-Premise world, many organizations only provided access to their ERP software when on their office premises, over a secure network, or through a VPN or other private access method.
With ERP opening up many new ways to access your enterprise resource planning solution, you need to carefully consider how you will both provide easy, flexible access to your end users, but also protect yourself from cybersecurity threats at the same time.
Check Your Internet Connection
In 2021, it’s fair to say that most office internet connections haven’t been under too much stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However as employees return back to the office, the bandwidth of your internet may be once again tested. With ERP solutions relying on a stable connection to the internet in order to access critical business information, it’s essential you have a strong internet connection to gain access to your ERP software.
With many applications and other critical business functions moving to the such as meetings via videoconferencing, it’s likely that this is something your IT department has already covered – but it’s best to be on the safe side.
Furthermore, if you operate in certain countries such as China or Russia, you may have issues connecting to an ERP software hosted in the USA or in Europe. So check that your employees have a viable way to access your ERP software before purchasing or beginning your implementation to prepare well.