6 Keys to the Best ERP Implementation Process

6 Keys to the Best ERP Implementation Process

Anyone who has been part of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation process can attest that it is a momentous and challenging undertaking, but it can lead to significant positive changes for your organization:

  • Integrated systems and processes
  • One central complete database
  • One unified, accurate comprehensive view of the entire operation of the business
  • Data and reporting that communicate between systems throughout the organization

Identifying an ERP implementation partner can be as critical as choosing the software itself. A large percentage of ERP implementations go over time, over budget, or outright fail. A team of ERP consultants and developers with experience in your industry can help lead you through a successful ERP implementation process.

If you are researching ERP implementation partners, you likely have many questions. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions that we hear about ERP implementation.

What is ERP implementation?

ERP implementation is the process of installing ERP software. Cumulus generally executes two types of implementations:

  • Full Implementation: With a full implementation, we are either conducting a first-time implementation, or replacing an existing ERP with SAP or Plex, which will be used throughout the organization.
  • Two-tier Implementation: In the case of a two-tier implementation, Cumulus may install SAP or Plex at a manufacturing plant facility, while another ERP, such as Oracle or SAP, continues to be used at the corporate location. In these cases, we often develop custom integration solutions to integrate the plant ERP with the corporate ERP to give the organization a comprehensive view of its entire operations.

Who should be involved in an ERP implementation?

The team you have in place will be instrumental in the success of your ERP implementation. Managers from each department should be involved in the implementation process, as well as a dedicated project manager from your organization who will work directly with the implementation partner and keep the project moving forward from your business’ standpoint.

In fact deciding who will be part of your ERP team is one of the most vital aspects of a successful implementation. Not choosing a strong core team could lead to failure.

How should I choose an ERP implementer?

When choosing your implementation partner, take time to speak with them, and listen to what they are saying. Are they telling you they have a perfect solution for you? If so, proceed with caution! There is no such thing as a perfect ERP solution off the shelf.

Other questions to ask in this selection process include, what kind of experience do they have in your industry? Are they able to consult with you and ask the right questions to demonstrate their knowledge of what a successful ERP implementation looks like for your business? Has your conversation uncovered needs you didn’t realize you had, as well as anticipated future needs?

I’m still researching the right ERP for my business. Should I choose Plex or SAP?

There are a number of critical factors to consider when answering this question. Choose a consultant with experience in your industry who can help you evaluate the unique needs of your business and choose whether Plex, SAP, or another ERP system is the right solution for your organization.

What are the keys to a successful ERP implementation?

An implementation process to run as smoothly as possible requires:

  1. A dedicated project team, including a strong project manager and team members who understand the implementation process
  2. A commitment from all parties to a universally accepted, carefully planned project process and data migration strategy
  3. Allowance of additional time and financial budget to be spent in critical areas as needed
  4. Clear and regular communication with all members of your organization so people understand how this change will affect them and why it is critical to the success of your business.
  5. Testing, training, and ongoing support and maintenance from your implementation team. Technology is constantly evolving, and a responsible implementation partner will establish a continuing relationship with you to ensure your team knows how to use your ERP to its maximum ability, and that it continues to meet your unique business needs for the lifetime of your software.

How can I know if I’m getting the most out of my ERP or if it’s time for a change?

You understand the need for continuous improvement in business operations. Once an ERP is implemented, if it is not analyzed for performance and areas of improvement on an ongoing basis, it can become stagnant, and even potentially a hindrance to your operation in a matter of years, if not months. Your ERP implementation partner should offer analysis and optimization services to ensure your ERP is continuing to fulfill your evolving business needs at maximum efficiency to keep your business profitable, on the cutting edge, and ahead of the competition.

Has your organization gone through an ERP implementation recently? What went right, or what did you learn for the future? We love hearing from you, so talk to us in the comments below!