Navigating the Transition: Tips for Moving Between ERP Solution Partners

In today's article, ERP Team Lead, Conor Flanagan, explores how businesses can effectively manage the transition processes to ensure continuity of operations and unlock new possibilities for growth.

The author of this page: Conor Flanagan
Conor Flanagan, ERP Team Lead Jun 12, 2024

From the market exit of an existing provider to a breakdown in the existing partner relationship and everything in between, there are many reasons why you may be re-evaluating your existing ERP partner engagement. Transitioning from one ERP implementation or support partner to another can be complex. Regardless of the driver for the move, switching ERP partners can present an opportunity, encouraging organisations to reassess their existing ERP systems and processes and identify any areas for improvement. With experience delivering ERP solutions from implementation to solution takeover, Conor Flanagan has created this expanded guide to help you effectively manage the transition process to ensure continuity of operations while unlocking new possibilities for growth.

Impact Assessment

Regardless of the drivers or stage of solution deployment, the first step in ensuring a smooth transition between the incumbent and any new technology partner is understanding the drivers for change and the expected outcomes for this process. Will any critical system functionality be affected by the move or third-party licensing require direct management moving forward? Looking beyond the technology, how will this transition affect employees - consider any potential user resistance and where possible address concerns early on, be honest and realistic about the potential impact of this transition - for example additional workload the transition may generate in the short or medium term, while ensuring expected gains are communicated along with the opportunity the transition presents for positive change.

In situations where the transition is a result of a current partner exiting the market some important questions to ask during this process include;

  • What is the timeline for your current partner's exit and what support and maintenance agreements can they provide until the transition is completed?

  • Are any risks such as gaps in support, service interruptions or compliance issues likely to result from their departure?

  • What communications exist surrounding the departure and how can you address concerns and manage expectations for any customers, suppliers or employees likely to be affected?

Partner Selection

With clarity surrounding the drivers for change, potential impact and expected outcomes, the next step is identifying the right fit ERP partner for your organisation. A decision that can prove daunting in the event of a partnership breakdown or feel rushed in the event of market exit. To help ensure success here we recommend allowing time to carefully consider partners against the below criteria -in situations where time pressure exists, taking the time out now to find the right fit partner for your business can save you time and money in the weeks or months to come.

  • Prioritise key criteria such as industry experience, technical capabilities and geographic coverage to generate a partner shortlist

  • Evaluate this list by leveraging existing networks, industry forms and referrals and prioritise partners with a proven track record in particular where skills or expertise are critical to ERP solution performance

  • Consider the partner's flexibility and responsiveness, as this will be a likely indicator of future engagements

  • Request references to gain an insight into existing client experiences across service, technical delivery and implementation where relevant.

Accelerated Transition Planning

In the face of impending partner exit, meticulous planning and coordination are essential to minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth transition to the new ERP partner. By planning the transition you establish as baseline against which to assess performance, while also providing a guideline to ensure the right resources are available at the right times to avoid project delays. This step aims to ensure seamless business continuity and the mitigation of risk during the handover period, some things we encourage clients to consider at this stage include;

  • The establishment of a dedicated transition task force comprising internal and external stakeholders to oversee the transition process and facilitate communication.

  • Identify and prioritize key activities such as data migration, system configuration, user training, and testing to meet the expedited timeline.

  • Implement agile project management practices such as daily stand-up meetings, sprint planning, and iterative development to maintain momentum and adapt to evolving requirements.

  • Allocate additional resources and support to manage the increased workload and address any unforeseen challenges or bottlenecks during the transition.

    Post-Transition Optimisation and Stabilisation

    Once the transition to the new ERP partner is complete, the focus should then shift to optimising system performance, stabilising operations, and ensuring user adoption. It is important to understand what if any compromises in terms of functionality had to be made to prevent business disruption and the impact of such compromises on user experience and scalability. With the system now up and running or back under support your organisation can think about how to proactively address any user issues/concerns and look to enhance business processes and workflows going forward. During this stage, it is important to:

  • Conduct comprehensive post-implementation assessments to validate system functionality, data integrity, and performance against predefined success criteria.

  • Provide ongoing support and training to users to facilitate their transition to the new ERP system and address any usability or functionality issues.

  • Monitor system performance, user feedback, and key performance indicators to identify opportunities for optimisation and refinement.

  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement by gathering honest feedback from users, evaluating system enhancements, and leveraging new technologies and best practices.

Transitioning between ERP implementation partners, especially in the wake of a market exit, requires careful planning, strategic execution, and effective collaboration. By assessing the impacts of this transition, taking the time to carefully select a new ERP partner, focusing on transition planning and prioritizing post-transition optimisation, your businesses can navigate the transition successfully and emerge stronger than before.

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