ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. It integrates various databases in order to streamline processes and information throughout your business. ERP can be used to manage many of the core business operations, including finance, HR, procurement, customer service, and project management. Implementing an ERP system can be expensive, so it’s important to choose the right one and implement it properly so you can get the best out of it.
- Get Upper Management Support. The companies that find it hardest to implement ERP are usually the ones that lack involvement from upper management. At the lower level, resources don’t tend to be engaged with the project with involvement at the senior level. Executives should at least be aware of the issues that might cause delays to the project.
- Make a clear list of requirements. Start by carefully defining the scope of your project before choosing an Enterprise Resource Planning system. Focus on business processes and system requirements. If you have a specific list of your requirements, vendors can better tailor their pitches to show how they can help you. Not being sure what you want will cause delays in implementation. Often people choose ERP systems based on price, clever systems, and technology buzz.
- Don’t forget mobile users. Accessing ERP systems from desktop-only is not ideal. For better accessibility, choose an ERP solution that will allow users to be productive on smartphones and tablets, while also keeping sensitive information secure.
- Evaluate your options before choosing. Poorly run projects that are ill-defined can lead to poor implementations. Vague priorities can lead to selecting the wrong vendor. If key stakeholders don’t participate in the evaluation stage, it can lead to poor user adoption, and cause project delays. You should also look at reporting and metrics. What do you want to be able to gauge from the system you have? Consider whether you can get this information from the existing reports in the system you’re considering or will you have to pay more for custom reports? You also need the system to integrate with your current systems, or it’s unlikely to work for you.
- Get references. When choosing an ERP solution, ask the vendor for at least three references. Ask those customers when went well and what went wrong, and if there was anything they would now do differently. If the vendor can’t provide three references who are happy customers, they may not be experienced enough to suit your needs.
- Think before you customize it. Think about how much customization will be required to configure and deploy the system. A system that is highly customizable will generate a higher cost, both in the initial deployment and when upgrading as well. If you have unique requirements, consider if those needs could be mainstreamed to keep costs under control. Most businesses have the same basic needs, such as paying invoices, collecting revenue, and procuring supplies. This is the point of ERP systems, so companies can take advantage of class-leading standard processes that have been tested by many other companies.