Guest post by ERP Software Specialists, The Attivo Group
You’re one of those C-level executives, and you realize that your company’s 20-year old enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is taking too many resources to earn its keep. Just to run one report requires you to open six windows so you can get the info you need – and it takes ages for those windows to open. You feel like most of your employee’s time is searching, data entering and waiting for your current ERP system to work. Not efficient.
A new ERP system implementation can cost upwards of $50,000, and hundreds of man hours to implement, taking away some of your key individuals during the time of transition. Understanding that, it’s vital that it’s completed the right way the first time insuring your business’ processes are streamlined; workflow systemized and atomized, and cut costs. If it’s not, it can cost your organization profit, and lead to hours of pull-your-hair-out frustration.
The below 12 blunders help you to help your company make the correct choices on selecting your ERP software implantation partner, and what to expect from them.
ERP Software Blunder #1: Poor preparation. Just like with any key milestone in life or in business, preparation is essential. You can’t just throw in haphazard ERP software and hope for the best. The first part of planning is a thorough review of the business processes you currently have. Armed with that information, you can understand what is and what isn’t working for your business, what you would like to automate, and what you would like to outsource.
At Attivo Group,
- Business Process Analysis: a Business Process Analysis helps us learn your processes, understand your pains, and learn where money seems to be trickling out of your business.
- Recommend & Implement: We then recommend and implement ways that you can simplify and automate that process, cutting costs and time spent.
- Training & Support: Lastly, we train your staff on the new process so that your business doesn’t just have a new software, but a better way to do business. We’re there for the long-haul, too, making sure your software and processes are working for your business.
ERP Software Blunder #2: Not accurately screening ERP vendors. Do you go and buy a new car without checking a single consumer report? Why would it be any different for when you’re selecting an ERP implementation partner? Ask for at least 3 references for any service provider before signing a agreement – including your ERP software vender.
ERP Software Blunder #3: Misjudging the time and resources necessary. Let’s be frank, ERP software implementation can take some serious man hours. The easiest way to estimate man-hours a software will take is to take the cost of the ERP software and divide by 100. It’s not the best estimate, but it gets you close to the ball-park number. However, that’s only if you’re going to be using a knowledgeable ERP vendor. If you’re using an in-house IT person, you need to at least double or triple that number.
ERP Software Blunder #4: Not having the right folks on the team from the start. Once you make a choice on what ERP software implementation partner and consultant to use as you transition into the new system, have everyone that has a role involved – not just IT. This includes crucial people from finance, operations, manufacturing, purchasing, IT support and warehouse. Each branch is going to have a different set of requests, and to help save time and reduce blunders that can derail an ERP implementation have them part of the process.
ERP Software Blunder #5: Not determining priorities. "When implementing an ERP system, the single most important thing one can do to minimize delays and accelerate time to completion is to reduce multitasking," says Yoav Ziv, vice president, Realization , a project management specialist. "People work much slower when they are juggling multiple tasks and constantly switching gears," he argues. Therefore, creating a priority system should be a top priority for IT managers. "The priority system should not only indicate when to do which tasks, but should also provide managers with the issues they need to resolve, per priority," he says. In addition, "ERP implementation managers need to implement a rigorous issue resolution process to act upon those signals and remove issues immediately in order to avoid delays."
ERP Software Blunder #6: Trying to make it do it all. ERP software cannot do everything, no matter how flexible, powerful or expensive. This is, again, where planning, audits and prioritizing process automation is important. If you try to make your ERP software to run your entire business, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, there are many softwares that can run seamlessly into each other, so although data may not be all stored in the same software, the data can ‘talk’ to each other seamlessly
ERP Software Blunder #7: Not having an active testing environment. A few text users will not give you an accurate picture of real-world of using this new system – you need an active testing environment that allows your staff to actively use it. This will help in avoiding unplanned downtime and a smoother transition.
ERP Software Blunder #8: Not decommissioning legacy applications. Trying to reduce cost and waste? Then one important rule of thumb for implementing a new ERP software is to asses and decommission applications during implementation. There’s no need to move over all the original legacy applications that you need to upgrade and interface with your new ERP system.
ERP Software Blunder #9: Not knowing or using major features. ERP software has amazing capabilities, but that doesn’t mean that you need to turn into an expert on the software your company uses – just skilled on what you need your ERP software to do. With understanding your needs, a good ERP implementation partner will be able to help you automate business processes, complete functions faster and meet business objectives. It’s important that your ERP implementation partner offers training and on-going support to help you through upgrades, track usage, and offer yearly reviews that lists the features being used and which are the most helpful, and the ERP vender can then make other suggestions..
ERP Software Blunder #10: Not participating in training and change management. An ERP system is not going to be totally intuitive, so software training is a key investment in a successful ERP implementation. Any lack of training will result in misinformation, misuse and a general sense of frustration among your employees. Plus, it’s not going to happen after one training session. It’s important to be open to questions and re-training to insure a favorable outcome.
ERP Software Blunder #11: Underestimating the importance of accurate data. Mindreading has not been implemented in ERP softwares, so it’s that proper programming and procedural parameters are put in place in the beginning to minimize the likelihood of errors.
ERP Software Blunder #12: Not having a software support program. This not only speaks to the on-going support of an ERP software support organization, but also from the upgrades and software maintenance. Cloud based solutions are great for insuring that upgrades and maintenance is maintained.
Have an ERP Blunder and solution not covered above that you would like to share? Please leave a comment.
The Attivo Group is a full-service software reseller and implementation specialists for ERP and CRM systems for small to mid-sized businesses.