ERP Implementation Best Practices
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a valuable workhorse for any business striving to improve its operations and every aspect of their business. With an ERP solution, you can improve collaboration, productivity, customer service, and data security, as well as have a macro view of business operations. Don Hall has been employed as an IT Manager and ERP expert Don Hall shares a very informative article on CIO Insight of many best practices to consider when implementing an ERP.
Define and revise goals and objectives
In order to maximize your ERP’s capabilities, you must start with correctly implementing the solution. There are two goals that can be viewed in the macro and micro level, according to Hall. The “The macro goal is to implement an ERP solution successfully, whereas the micro goals are all the checkpoints and critical path tasks to help a business reach the macro goal. These micro goals, or objectives, must be assigned specific tasks with realistic timelines.” A guideline Hall recommends is as follows: Planning, Data Analysis and Migration, Design, Development, Testing, Deployment, Support and Updates.
Work with third-party ERP implementation experts
Hall points out that most businesses wanting to implement an ERP solution do not have an ERP implementer on staff since it’s a unique skill set. Though not necessary, working with an ERP expert can vastly speed up and improve the implementation process. Even if you are an IT-based company, Hall recommends that it’s wise to consult an ERP implementer to seek advice on avoiding common configuration errors.
Standardize vs. customize
Customization is a project within itself when setting up your ERP and/or when new versions of your software is released. Sometimes your customized features may even need to be rewritten. Halls suggests to CIOs and CTOs to minimize customization by purchasing an industry-specific ERP solution.
Focus on business-critical requirements
Businesses should continue to meet their primary goals and objectives for critical processes during ERP implementation. These processes, Hall notes, need to be given proper attention during the planning, design, and development phases. “Secondary processes that feed these primary processes, including any internal or external data, must be considered. Scope creep can quickly get out of hand, so careful consideration is paramount in identifying secondary processes.”
Validate the implementation plan before execution
Hall notes, “once an ERP implementation plan is formed, CTOs and CIOs can validate the plan to ensure nothing is overlooked. Quality assurance documents, test protocols, and a validation report are part of a comprehensive validation kit to help avoid the common pitfalls of implementing an ERP solution. Moreover, a validation toolkit can help verify that an ERP implementation plan has addressed every concern thoroughly.”