The decision to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system into your business should not be taken lightly, as there are often high initial set-up costs of these systems. There are also substantial benefits if you consider your needs thoroughly. ERP systems have a wide breadth of capabilities and are highly configurable to your business needs to enable them to maximise Return on Investment (ROI), streamline your business processes and improve workflow efficiencies and improve competitive advantage.
No two ERP software implementations are the same due to the uniqueness of your business needs, size and structure. However, most successful implementations will follow this framework. Knowing this framework will reduces costs, timeline of implementation and subsequently minimise failure rate.
Stage 1: Planning, Design and Testing
It is easy to underestimate the value of planning and jump straight into designing and developing your ERP system. This is a costly mistake that could end up increasing the time and money it takes to implement an ERP system.
Planning is critical to ensure all of the project requirements are mapped out and achieved by the expected timelines and budget. You do not want to merely transfer over current inefficiencies and ineffective processes when there is so much more on offer. During this phase, the expectations of the project are determined, including: current workflow inefficiencies and desired software functionality. You should ensure your software provider has a deep knowledge of your business and commercial applications and understands all of your specific software requirements and goals. You should discuss all of the customisations your business needs to fill the gaps in your ERP software before the development process begins.
Your ERP system should be selected in this phase. Your business may opt for an on-premise system or a Cloud-based software. On-premise systems require a one-off payment that allows your hardware and software is installed at your organisation’s office. A Cloud-based system is subscription based and faster to implement than on-premise systems. For more information on this, please read How much does an ERP system actually cost? and Choosing between ERP systems: Cloud or On-premise.
Design and Development
This phase is where the solution is designed and developed based on your implementation plan. It is critical that good communication is set-up between you and your software developer to ensure that all of your goal and expectations are met. To save money, you should invest in an ERP system that meets majority of your business needs. This will reduce the cost of customisations and third-party integrations that will be required to cover any gaps in your system. Your developer will analyse your existing workflows, determine what customisations are needed and how your data will be migrated to the new system. Once the design is approved, your provider will begin customising your software.
The developer will begin to code and test your ERP software and clean your current data before migrating it to your new system to minimise any duplications or inconsistencies that may be present within the data. You should consider how much of your historical data is required to be transferred to the new system, as lots of this may be obsolete. Customisation and third-party integrations will be configured to ensure your workflows and business processes are efficient.
Stage 2: Testing and Deploying
The testing and deploying phase is where bugs are found and addressed to fine-tune the system based on the testing results and user feedback. This reduces the chance setbacks and downtime occurs. Business processes are connected seamlessly and improvements are made to increase flexibility. This process is ongoing; your developer will test modules and develop adjustments before retesting them. You and your team should be involved in this process so that any user impediments or improvements can be made through this process.
This is the phase where end-user-training should commence. However, it is useful to begin introductory training for users in the Design and Development stage, as they can become familiar with the system before more formal training begins. The cost of ERP implementation can also be reduced if your employees are more involved in the development process. Support and training is critical to maintaining the successful use of your system.
Deployment to Go Live
This is the exciting part where the ERP system is prepared, validated and deployed. Your existing software will be run in parallel with your new system until it is fully adopted to mitigate the risk decreased productivity, as some more potential issues may come to light. This allows modules of the new system to be launched in stages, beginning with high-priority modules. Your developer will answer questions and help users understand the system within this phase.
Stage 3: Optimisation and Maintenance
Optimisation and constant analysis of your ERP system to expose new gaps in your system is critical to maintain effective business processes and to ensure that your ERP system grows with your business and are aligned to your future state. To gain the most out of your system, it is important to conduct ongoing training to reinforce knowledge of your employees. Updates ensures the system is running efficiently, it also helps keep your users happy and therefore allows your business to achieve its desired results.
The bottom line: is it worth investing?
ERP systems streamline operations, increase efficiency and boost productivity with a centralised and easy to use solution. It is worth the investment if you integrate training from the start of the implementation stage, as this allows you to maximise what you get out of your software.
ABC Business Solutions can help
The features offered by different ERP systems vary. ABC Business Solutions has software, financial, IT and real-life experience to help you decide what system is best suited to your business. ABC Business Solution provides tailored training to your users to ensure they are comfortable and familiar using the system.
ABC Business Solution offers continuous optimisation and support for your ERP system to reveal productivity issues, which can be fixed with enhancement and development. We listen to your feedback and will implement improvements to ensure your system runs how you want it to. ABC Business Solutions also offer software support to ensure all issues are fixed and updates to ensure your system stays efficient. We offer a number of support plans to suit your budget. Contact us today for a consultation.
Do You Want More Information?
We recommend reading our other articles to determine if your business would benefit from an ERP system:
When you should upgrade to an ERP system?
11 Reasons You Should Invest in an ERP System
How Much Does an ERP System Actually Cost?