Around almost any corner of the internet there lurk hundreds of articles proclaiming the "ERP failure". There is no reason to fear ERP implementation, however. In a majority of the cases where a company failed at their accomplishment process, there was most likely a huge mistake they made. Whether that mistake was in their software choice or the end process of going live, there are a few core do's and don'ts for ERP implementation.
If you go into an ERP implementation project with one simple goal of set-up and go-live, you will surely fail. One key to succeeding in ERP implementation is creating milestones to hit along the way. Hitting these 6 implementation mile markers along the way will ensure flawless ERP success.
This is the very first step in ERP implementation, and probably the most important one. During the defining and preparation phase, you should look your business over from the top down. Decide how many users you will have on the software and what kind of functions it will need to support. Without this step thoroughly completed, the rest of the ERP implementation will fall apart.
The selection phase leans directly on the defining and planning stage. There are hundreds of different ERP vendors and software choices. Every need that you defined during the first stage should be met by the software selection you make. Maybe it is important to you that you have a consultant to help you through the implementation process, this would be the time to ensure the vendor has the ability to provide that. Without the right ERP software choice, the implementation process will be long, difficult and a failure.
This stage of implementation becomes hard work on the IT side. Customizations and integrations to existing programs and modules begin. Often times this is the stage that most companies fear the most, however, unless you are on the IT team it will be an easy break from the rest of the project.
This is when the real hard work begins in the ERP implementation process. Employees need to feel comfortable with the software before you even judge moving on to the next stage. The best way to do this is by giving employees enough time to familiarize themselves. Further, train one user to be a "super user", or an employee who will know the software the best. By doing this, your employees have an identified person that they can turn to when they are stuck in the ERP system.
The most important thing to do during this stage is to step back and take a breather. If you have made it this far and the go-live day is a success, pat on the back yourself. However, don't relax too much because the next stage is extremely important for future success.
It is crucial that continuing education exists once the ERP system is in place. There will surely be questions that arise post- going live. One way to tackle this is to keep a file full of commonly asked questions on the system or by commonly used modules in each department. Not only will this be helpful for existing employees, but for future on-boarding as well.