The Stages Of Managing ERP Implementation
1.Planning And Discovery
1.Planning And Discovery
For this phase, your business needs to bring together a cross-functional team to gather input on the requirements of the business and the various problems present that the ERP system needs to solve. This team is tasked with making a list of vendors, issuing proposal requests, choosing the ERP system to implement, and managing the ERP implementation process. This ensures that the system is fully adopted and meets all of the business's needs.
In this phase, the team analyzes and decides how the business may need to adjust to the new system. Flexibility is key at this stage, as administrators and business process owners need to be open to adjusting how they perform day-to-day operations.
Either the vendor or the integration partner works with the entire team to integrate and configure the software to match business needs and perform activities necessary for a successful deployment. If your business has chosen an on-site ERP system rather than a cloud-based system, you’ll also need to decide how you’re going to handle hardware, connectivity, and long-term maintenance & security.
Before everything goes live, you need to test your system. Testing should include comprehensive assessments covering all of the ways that your employees will use the system. You may have to do some fine-tuning to fix problems that might arise during testing, but it’s better than having employees discover problems after it’s live.
After configuration, data migration, and testing are completed, it’s time to go live! But you aren’t done yet. Unless your staff is using the system for their everyday tasks, you aren’t getting a full return on your investment. You have to prioritize training and implementing peer expert resources so your entire team can easily adapt to the changes.
This is the final phase where the project team ensures that your users have all of the support they need. They also continue to upgrade the system and fix problems as needed. If you choose an on-site ERP system, you’ll also need dedicated IT resources to handle security, patching, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
4 ERP Implementation Strategies
There are four proven strategies to choose from when implementing an ERP system, each one with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. When managing ERP implementation, everyone needs to be working towards the same goal: a successful business.
1. Big Bang
With this strategy, sometimes referred to as “the single-step method”, all users migrate to the new system all at the same time. For this to work, you will need to have completed every aspect of configuration and testing of the new system, as well as all of the training beforehand. The advantage to this approach is that you will see the benefits of the ERP system happen more quickly, such as increased productivity or lower operating costs. However, with this strategy, once you implement the system, it’s very hard to go back, so it’s important to do everything correctly. Even a minor error can impact customers, employees, and partners. With this strategy, expect there to be an initial drop in productivity as users all get used to the new system.
2. Phased Rollout
With this strategy, the deployment features, components, and tools are implemented over an extended period of time, which could be weeks or even months. This more cautious approach can be viewed as a less risky ERP implementation type than the big bang strategy. This strategy also allows the opportunity to apply what you learn in the deployment phase to the next stages of implementation, allowing for a smoother transition. The main drawback to this strategy is that it takes much longer to get the full benefits from the ERP system.
3. Parallel Adoption
For this strategy, you would keep using your current ERP system along with the new system for a certain amount of time. This is considered by most as the least risky option of all of the ERP implementation types because it’s possible to simply switch back to your initial system if the new one doesn’t work out. This approach typically also makes it easier for users to actually adjust to the system rather than being thrown in all at once. However, this approach is the most expensive because you’ll be paying to run two systems at once for some time.
As the name suggests, a hybrid approach combines elements of all of the strategies listed above. For example, your business could choose to focus on core modules using the big bang strategy while also rolling out other modules in phases by location. This is the most customizable method, where you can pick and choose exactly how you want to roll everything out.