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Laying the foundation for ERP Project Success
It is fair to say that financially and operationally, ERP implementation and the process of Digital Transformation is a project that no business can afford to fail. As a business manager, it's critical to understand that the key to project success lies in the preparation phase. Don't fall victim to the misguided notion that preparation begins only when the system is in place and suppliers are engaged. The foundation for your next project's success is established at the outset of the preparation phase through crucial decisions that can make or break its outcome. It's time to take control and lay the foundation for your next project's success.
How to prepare for a successful ERP Project
Ensuring ERP implementation project success is crucial for the long-term growth and profitability of any organization. The choice to implement new systems does not come lightly and does not happen regularly, so ensuring that such a cornerstone of your business is implemented successfully is extremely important.
Preparing for an ERP Implementation Project
To start with, let's discuss the changing landscape of software implementation projects. Over the past decade, there has been a significant shift in what determines the success or failure of these projects. Rather than being solely dependent on technical factors such as system performance, success now relies heavily on organizational aspects such as the company's ability and willingness to adapt to change, cultural mindset, and business processes. This calls for a new approach to the preparation phase.
Effective preparation for organizational projects should begin well ahead of the traditional, technology-focused approach. In today's landscape, it is imperative to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to ensure success. It's best to have the core principles and preconditions established before engaging with suppliers to ensure a smooth implementation process. Here are some questions you should ask as a business before you get started.
- What are the strategic goals that we want to achieve with this initiative?
- How can we define these goals in an attractive format so that every single employee can understand them?
- How can we secure active involvement from the complete management team?
- Who is the active and skilled sponsor at board level that will be responsible for both success and (unhoped-for) failure?
- Will this project be the only project with a 100 percent focus or will there be more projects running at the same time?
- Are we adapting the new software to the way we work or are we open to changing our business processes towards the best practices in the software?
- Are we opting for a ‘big-bang’ approach or is a series of ‘baby steps’ a better approach?
- Where are the greatest risks of failure and how can we limit or even eliminate them?
- How can we motivate our teams to share their best ideas with the project team?
- How can we use communication so that we involve the entire company at an early stage?
It is of crucial importance to share the answers to these questions with the whole organization in an open way. Communication and openness are often the best strategy. Remember, people are resistant to change and will often have insecurities about their job roles with such a big change in system. By being open and encouraging two-way communication with your teams, you will get better staff morale and better buy in to the new system. An additional advantage of this communicative approach is that you are able to inform your potential vendors and implementation partners in a much better way about what you want to achieve.
Preparation is always ninety percent of the end-result. So, there is a good chance that this new approach will contribute to better project results.
Key points to a successful ERP Project
As well as the human aspect, there are a lot of practical aspect to prepare for to ensure project success for your ERP project.
- Business Needs: Identify your business needs and goals, including what you want the ERP system to achieve.
- Budget: Determine your budget for the project, including for both the software costs and also implementation, customization, and ongoing maintenance costs.
- Vendor Selection: Choose an ERP partner that is aligned with your business goals, has a proven track record of success, and provides excellent customer service.
- Implementation Team: Assemble a team of experts from both the software partner and your organization to manage the implementation process.
- Data Migration: Decide what data from the existing systems to transfer to the new ERP system and ensure that the data is clean and accurate.
- Customization: Determine if the ERP system needs to be customized to meet your specific needs and evaluate the cost and impact of customization.
- Training: Plan for comprehensive training programs to ensure that all users are proficient in using the new system.
- Integration: Identify all other systems and tools that need to integrate with the ERP system and ensure that the integration is seamless and futureproof.
- Security: Ensure that the ERP system is secure, and your sensitive data is protected from unauthorized access.
- Change Management: Establish a change management plan to ensure that everyone in the organization understands and supports the changes brought about by the new ERP system.
- Testing: Testing. Testing. Testing. We left the most important part to last – making sure that you test your systems to make sure that they work as you need them to. Everyone who needs to do testing needs to know in advance, and needs to understand the importance of thorough testing.
How Dynamics Consultants help with Project Success
At Dynamics Consultants we have a history of successful projects, with over 400 years of combined experience of working with Microsoft Dynamics. With our proven methodology we know how to scope projects to discover your business needs, provide clear pricing and a project plan to ensure that you have a successful ERP implementation.
“Working with Dynamics Consultants is a mutually beneficial relationship. Their customer service is top notch and their knowledge is beyond excellent. Our company is much better off with Dynamics Consultants as our partner.” - Finance Manager, IT Solutions Provider
Find out about how we implement:
Summarising technology changes for manufacturing companies in 2023 and what that means for 2024 such as artificial intelligence and industry 4.0
Manufacturing, Warehousing and distribution company Colorlites implements Business Central ERP with Dynamics Consultants in a phased approach