A 5-step guide to ERP Implementation
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation is a complicated process that requires careful planning and strategy. Integrating front and back-end systems and processes into a shared platform can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete.
Multiple factors—such as the size of your organisation, how complicated your current setup is, the number of users and the transfer of data from legacy systems—contribute to the duration and expense of the process.
Although changes and adaptations will be required along the way, putting together an ERP project plan prior to your deployment is an important part of preparing for a successful implementation. In this blog, you’ll learn how to understand the process in steps and get tips to make the process smoother and more successful.
Preparation and Planning
Assemble a team of first-line and management employees from every department to develop and execute your ERP project plan. A wide range of expertise on this team will give you a crucial perspective into how the system and process changes will affect day-to-day operations.
The first step for this new project team is to evaluate current business practices to identify which processes can be improved or automated by the new ERP system. Triage these processes in order of priority and use this evaluation to help you strategize and determine the goals and scope of the implementation.
Have the project team conduct an extensive review of the features and capabilities of your new ERP software. The purpose of this review is twofold:
For the project team to familiarise themselves with every aspect of the new ERP solution and identify proficiencies and skill gaps before the wider rollout. This experience will help create the training guide also.
To verify which manual processes will be automated by the new system and ensure that necessary modifications are made prior to rollout so that automation proceeds smoothly.
Define which of your existing data will need to be converted to the new system, and then analyse it to weed out useless or outdated information. If possible, locate source documents to verify data accuracy and completeness. Some housekeeping at this stage goes a long way because an ERP system is only as useful as its data. If your data is clogged with inaccurate information, the value provided by your new ERP will be negatively impacted.
Once data has been checked and cleaned, create spreadsheets to collect and segment useful data into logical tables to streamline conversion to the new system.
Testing and Training
Have the project team practice with a test database populated with a full week of real transaction data to validate system output, test accuracy, and ensure that integrations and interfaces work properly. In addition to testing the new system, this hands-on experience with the new software can be used to help the project team create cheat sheets and process documentation for company-wide training.
The ideal training methodology varies by workforce. Factors such as how much time your employees can devote to training and where they’re located will guide you as to whether in-person training, e-learning or a combination of both will work best.
Rollout and Evaluation
On the day of rollout, plan on a lot of questions and be prepared for some hiccups. Make sure your project team is prepared to lead their departments through the process, and that your IT team is ready to make changes and adjustments as needed. ERP implementation is a lot of work, but the benefits to productivity and profitability are well worth it.
After rollout, evaluate your ERP solution’s output against the goals and objectives your project team set during the planning stage. Is your new system accomplishing those goals? Is it successfully automating manual processes the way it should? If not, additional alterations and refinements are needed.
Working with a Solution Provider
Bringing a solution provider onboard at the beginning of your ERP implementation can increase your chances of success and help you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes. Storm Technology specialise in Microsoft products and has attained certifications and accreditations in deploying ERP solutions like Dynamics 365 Business Central. This means they bring proven competency and experience to the implementation process.
Do you have questions about Dynamics 365 Business Central or other Microsoft solutions? Contact our Business Applications team today and make ERP implementation easier for your organisation.
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