ERP Implementation: Best Practices for Success

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software offers vital functionality and important benefits for organizations in all industries. However, implementing the software can be incredibly challenging. A project management methodology can provide the ability to integrate ERP software and ensure the project is a success, but the right methodology must be chosen. In addition, there are other concerns, such as the ability to maintain consistent communication across all channels, as well as test the software.

The Right Methodology

As mentioned, a project management methodology can provide invaluable benefits when it comes to ERP implementation. However, you need to choose the right option, which can be quite challenging given the number of methodologies out there. Is agile the right choice for your needs? Perhaps the waterfall methodology would be a better fit. Or, the PMI approach could work better for your unique needs.

Whatever methodology you choose, it needs to mesh with your organization’s needs, goals, and situation. For instance, do you have full-time, in-house employees rather than outside contractors? If so, the same project management framework can be applied across the board, but if you are working with contractors, you might need to adopt a hybrid approach

The Need for Testing

You’ll find a host of ERP solutions out there, all promising to help you solve your organization’s needs and address pressing pain points. However, they’re not all created equal, and implementation can cause issues along the way. This means that you need to plan for testing at every stage of implementation.

Functionality is all well and good, but if that function doesn’t work, then there’s an issue that must be resolved or you will not be able to derive the anticipated value from the software. Every aspect of the ERP software you choose must be tested as it is integrated. Yes, this might slow down the process, but it will ensure that everything works the way it should and eliminates hurdles that could affect usability and value.

Start Now

It can be tempting to work through implementation slowly, taking a measured, patient approach. That makes sense, but it is the wrong tactic, at least when it comes to ERP software. This is primarily because of the need to develop custom interfaces for the departments within your organization.

This requires you to work with third parties, coordinate with specialists outside your firm, and be involved in a lot of discussion and planning. That will slow down the process by itself. If you are dragging your feet with ERP integration, the slowdown can become glacial. In fact, it may cause the entire project to come to a halt. Start integration as soon as possible. Define the tools necessary for the job. Make sure that every team member is fully aware of his or her responsibilities, as well as the expectations for the team as a whole.

The Need for Communication

When an ERP implementation goes off the rails, it is usually because communication broke down somewhere inside the process. It cannot be stressed enough – clear, consistent communication between all stakeholders, decision makers, and team members, is the foundation for a successful project. Without it, you have nothing. The project management methodology that you ultimately choose should foster direct, ongoing communication with a clear delineation of responsibilities and roles across the board.

Ultimately, ERP implementation does not have to be an insurmountable hurdle. Choose the right project management framework for your organization, set realistic expectations, ensure ongoing communication, and test, test, test. With these simple tips, your ERP system should be able to support your business’ needs.