What makes an ERP implementation successful? Is it magic or just luck? Neither! And this answer probably doesn’t surprise you. But what is it then? What determines the success of an ERP implementation? Just between us, here are our top 5 secrets:
Software is based on processes and this is true, regardless of what kind of software it is. ERP systems are software, so they’re also based on processes. Their purpose is to depict a company’s value chain. The process chain behind it is oftentimes no trivial matter. That’s why it’s essential that everyone involved in the project is familiar with the processes that the ERP system represents.
If you want your ERP project to crash and burn or at least run into a few problems, then go ahead and change the processes right during the implementation. Because that’s truly pulling the rug out from under the basis of your project. If you really need to modify the processes during the project, it usually pays off to put the project on pause and then come back to it once the processes are clear and established.
Your project team should consist of people who know their business and are aware of what an average workday looks like. But there should also be a good mix of people from the operational side and from Management. This way, you’ll optimize your ERP system’s rate of acceptance.
An ERP implementation is a complicated and tedious undertaking. Projects that take as long as 3 or more years are no longer a rarity. On top of that, you need to be involved throughout the entire project. The implementation contractor can’t introduce the entire ERP system on their own. The customer needs to do their part, and that takes time. The staff who is assigned to the project won’t be able to continue with doing daily business activities at the same time or will only have limited availability.
If your staff doesn’t have enough time for the project, it will take longer and cost more, and ultimately the system will not have the functionality you need. In short, it’s a lose-lose situation and everybody is unsatisfied.
Since ERP implementations are oftentimes major projects, they require professional project management. And the same thing applies –daily business cannot be done aside an ERP implementation. An ERP implementation can easily involve 30-50 people. They need to be coordinated and organized. This is a full-time job.
... because as a rule, they know how to do ERP projects. After all, it’s their core competence. Both project partners should be as transparent and honest with each other as possible. The project will run a lot more efficiently that way. This is crucial if you want to be able to resolve risks and problems quickly and foster teamwork. The best projects are the ones where customer and contractor work as a team and have the same goal in mind.
Of course, there are many other aspects and secrets that make a project successful, e.g. project marketing, the kick-off or good project goals. But the five we have mentioned here are already enough to give you a solid basis for successful ERP implementation.