An Enterprise Resource Planning project is a platform for continuous improvement. ERP systems permeate nearly all enterprise operational aspects, and extra care and planning are required to successfully effect such radical business changes. However, with the right strategy and a bit of patience, one could reap many rewards.
Implementing the software could take years to complete and the process could be by faulty planning and execution. Businesses often remain static and requests for changes in scope during a project could get out of hand. The technology may work, but a lot of organizations miscalculate the impact of the change. Below are some of the vital points to keep in mind when undertaking an ERP project.
1. When a project goes wrong, the results could be disastrous. Doing it right is rewarding, but failing could be devastating. In itself, the software is not the cause of the big problems, but the root cause is often due to the big business and process change needed with its implementations.
2. Before implementation, it is necessary to understand the why and understand the value proposition and business case for the system. For example, what are the objectives and deliverables, the driving project, what assumptions does the sponsor hold and more. The answer to these queries help the team understands the expected and targeted results.
3. Success is equivalent to change. Functionality should enable current and existing processes, or processes to change. Organization process implications could not be glossed over, no matter how hard the job of process or mapping engineering. Determine what methods and functions are in scope. Businesses that focus on technology and ignore the human element of the implementations usually fail. The program by definition is about people, not only organizations and technology. Minimizing the people side could run a bigger risk of missing the goal.
4. Investing in business intelligence. Aside from efficiently managing operations, common data enables ERP software to support a more detailed reporting and analysis. BI is the engine, the database of organization rules that should be defined for the benefits to be achieved. Often, the systems are required to incorporate with existing databases. The client helps lead the BI effort and participate actively in integration. Keep in mind, some things could be not accomplished by the IT professionals alone.
5. Managing risks is vital to the software project evolution. There are numerous complexities and flavors of the system. It is important to determine the major points of the situation. The risks should be defined clearly and included in the escalation plan. Some of the things to determine include technology risks, if there are scarce skills required, would there be a migration path, etc. A lot of risks could be mitigated via a thorough testing. Make certain to have a fallback plan for every implementation milestone where there are risks to be mitigated.