The Top 10 Success Factors for a Successful ERP Implementation

Any system is only as good as its implementation. But which factors lead to success in adopting a new technology or an upgraded version of an existing solution? Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has a well-deserved reputation for transforming businesses, but outcomes vary. We think these are the ten top success factors that can ensure successful ERP implementation.

1. Get Your Objectives Right

Your ERP programme should suit your business, but it can only do so if you know what your business is trying to achieve with an ERP package. So, think about business objectives and ensure that your ERP strategy folds around these objectives rather than aimlessly implementing features which sound attractive, but which do not offer meaningful benefits for your business.

2. Focus on Planning

Next to a clear view of your ERP objectives sits planning. ERP is a complex software product that takes time to integrate with your business. Allow enough time for each step, ensure important milestones get priority and manage schedules tightly. Project management skills are essential and it may be worth buying these skills in if your existing staff does not have the experience.

3. Budget Rigorously

Implementation will carry several layers of costs, including software license fees and the help of an integrator. Other costs include internal staff’s time as well as any disruption to your business during implementation. Add these costs up and budget so that a lack of resources does not trip up your ERP programme.

4. Select the Right ERP Partner

There are two factors to get right in the selection process. First, your business should be looking for ERP experts who have in-depth experience of implementing ERP solutions rather than just broad software experience. Next, your partner of choice must understand your business including the verticals in which you operate, and your customers.

5. Ensure Everyone is on Board

ERP implementation can bring challenging changes to everyday operations, particularly where ERP has never been used in an organization before. Staff need to adapt to this change and will do so more easily if they feel motivated and part of the process. Communication is key, a communications strategy must ensure all-round participation.

6. Watch Against Customizations

It can be tempting to fine-tune ERP systems down to the source code, but beware that the more tinkering your business does, the more difficult future changes and upgrades will turn out to be. When a new version of a software suit rolls out you may need to re-implement and test every customization. Make changes only where it is essential.

7. Consider a Staged Approach

Particularly where ERP programmes are large and all-encompassing, a staged approach can offer benefits. Instead of attempting to roll out the entire implementation at once, a careful step-by-step deployment can help avoid major setbacks while allowing your business to diagnose potential issues early on.

8. Test as Your Progress

Correcting course once your implementation is nearly complete can be expensive and time-consuming. Wherever possible test software and processes to see whether the implementation is achieving what it should be. Measure results: gauge to what extent ERP is meeting your objectives throughout the implementation period.

9. Don’t Skimp on Training

Software packages can be challenging to use for the uninitiated. Often it is merely a matter of a training hurdle, and for this reason, ERP implementation benefits from extensive, comprehensive training post-implementation. Training increases engagement and reduces staff frustration, rapidly benefitting productivity.

10. Ongoing Tweaking and Maintenance

Few ERP projects get everything right from the start. Instead, ERP implementations evolve, adjusting to the reality on the ground. Prepare for post-implementation adjustments that can further enhance the benefits that ERP brings to your business. Regular evaluation of fit and efficacy will help pinpoint where ERP projects that are already up and running, can improve.

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