Congratulations! You have purchased an ERP solution, but now what? Purchasing an ERP application is a big undertaking for your organization, but it’s only half of the battle. While deployment of an ERP solution is a major undertaking, the process doesn’t have to be painful. We’ll be sharing the top 5 things to do before starting your ERP journey and discuss how, with proper planning and execution, an implementation of ERP can be a smooth process.
1. Sell the Vision
Perhaps one of the most misdirected values of the project sponsor(s) is the corporate wide elevator pitch. It is not uncommon for upper management to lean on the consulting group to sell the vision. Here are some tips to get your team excited about the change in vision:
- The vision is sold using “trust” as the main currency. The incoming consulting group doesn’t have the currency to sell the vision instead we advise that trusted leadership, with influential currency, speak and sell the vision of change.
- The vision must be reiterated on a constant and ongoing basis. Motivators create influence by using enthusiasm, open and constant communication, and team empowerment as a means to energize and excite your team.
- Be honest. When the project starts to slip and/or fall behind this is the time to reinforce the troops, put a mitigation plan together, and reinforce the vision. The vision never kneels at the feet of unforeseen circumstance. Instead the vision helps create an environment where solutions are the output of successful vision casting. Successful vision casting always allows for an open dialog that involves solution oriented solutions.
- Empower your team through the vision you’re casting to create solutions to problems and be ultimate decision makers. Team empowerment doesn’t mean bringing the problem to the forefront, but coming up with solutions as part of the empowerment process. This means empowering your team to succeed but also empowering them to fail.
2. Project Team
How many times have you heard this phrase, “The A-Team is critical to the ERP success”?
While this may seem like an obvious point, you will be surprised how many companies begin their execution without having adequate resources. Selecting a dedicated project leader and a team for your implementation is a must. Here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself when selecting your project team:
- Does the team leader have strong project management skills? (You can say this during your presentation: who can facilitate team communication, address any issues, and keep the implementation on schedule?)
- Does the team understand the business?
- Does the team have the right people to lead the business process change?
3. Know Your Business Processes
Do you know your organization’s business processes? That’s not a trick question. You may be surprised how many people answer YES to this question only to realize that they were mistaken. Until we start examining how people do their work, we won’t have the right foundation on which to make improvements to business processes.
Prior to starting an ERP implementation, it is not only a great time to examine your current business processes but also to identify which processes should be improved. Here are some questions that can start the conversation:
- Are the procedures up to date?
- Are the users spending more time than they should on putting orders together?
- Do your users have real-time access to necessary information?
As an output of the discussions you can create a concise list of business requirements and changes that you’d like to achieve.
4. Clean Your Data
Oftentimes, projects will have challenges with data cleansing at some point. Most of this is tied back to a lack of understanding or importance of the data cleansing process before the implementation takes place. Here are some tips on data cleansing leading into your ERP project.
- Don’t wait until you start your project. Start the process immediately. If you know the data you want to bring over and how much of it needs to be converted, then start choosing your team to start the process early on. Waiting until a vendor is selected will only slow the process and slow the data conversion testing process.
- Define “owners” to various pieces of the data. For instance, define who owns the customer master, item master, etc. The owner of the process should then recruit the help needed to clean data and keep certain consistent data standards. This would include adjusting addresses, names, and item number descriptions to consistent standards that will help in the data conversion process to the next ERP system.
- Take advantage of automated data cleansing software. While most of these tasks are manual, there are software packages that could help relieve the burden of data cleansing.
- Define the amount of history you want to move over. There is no need to clean ALL your data instead focus your energy on the data you want to move over. If it’s two years’ worth of history then narrow your energy to specific information within that timeframe.
5. Change Management
Your project will fail without adequate organizational change management. Oftentimes, with a new implementation there is a big focus on technology but the human element gets ignored. The purpose of ERP is to help organizations use their resources more effectively. In other words, it’s about people. So why do organizations struggle so much with socializing change across the organization, with key stakeholders, and with those most affected by change? There are many reasons why, but the important thing to keep in mind is that if we want a successful ERP implementation we should all be thinking how to best implement change management in our organizations. Here are a few things to consider as you start your journey:
- Communicate change early. From the time the project is conceptualized, the management team needs to communicate that change is inevitable. Include the “why”, and “what’s in it for them” talking points.
- Identify your Change Management Champions. These folks are your “Go-To” folks who have their ears to the ground and a pulse to the inner-workings of the organization. These champions communicate the vision of change to the teams and continually reinforce and embrace the culture of change.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. If we haven’t made it clear, communication will be your best ally when transmitting the message of vision to the organization and allowing the freedom for employees to communicate up the ladder.
- What’s your strategy? How will you get your organization on board with your change management vision?
We hope this helps you on your ERP journey! At PowerObjects we can help you on your path to ERP success by implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Learn more about our services here.
Happy Dynamics 365’ing!