In an article, industry analyst firm Technology Evaluation Centers explored what they believed were five main challenges facing organizations when implementing ERP for the first time. TEC makes excellent and valid points in their article and we feel that identifying these challenges can help with the planning stages, ensuring all possible issues are addressed before the implementation gets underway. In this post, we take a look at these common challenges and how SYSPRO can mitigate each.
1. The Selection Problem
TEC states that selecting the right software that is suited to your specific business needs is the first challenge a company faces when implementing a new ERP system. We agree with TEC and have said before that ERP selection is not one size fits all- every company is unique and therefore needs a software solution that will help fulfill their individual needs. How does SYSPRO address this? SYSPRO has experienced consultants who meet with businesses to establish, define and understand their unique business processes. Once the business processes are determined and understood, our consultants use all the data collected during these meetings to build a model of the suggested solution, which includes time periods for project milestones. At this beginning stage, all parties will be able to determine how the solution will be beneficial to the organization.
2. Technical Issues
The next challenge presented by TEC is matching technical requirements to the new software and choosing the right delivery model to connect the two together. At this stage, SYSPRO develops a project plan that covers every step of the implementation process. The project plan sets a timeline for everything from hardware requirements, resource controls, data conversions and data entry to validating the network. The project plan acts as a road map that covers the steps for proceeding through the design phase of the system.
3. Data Quality Issues
Two of the top common data challenges a company faces when implementing a new ERP system is replacing legacy data and consolidating disparate solutions. First the business needs to decide on what type of data needs to be collected for operations. The next step is to have the business clean out the inaccurate or duplicate data sets in their previous system. SYSPRO guides our customers through this process and then “maps” the migration of the newly refined data to the new file format of the ERP system. All data, whatever the method of transfer to the new system, should be balanced prior to going live because data integrity of the new system can be make or break for an implementation.
4. Business Philosophy Changes
Business transformation could be a real challenge for companies that have had the same business model and day-to-day processes for many years – or even decades. It is important at this stage to provide the new users with a visual representation of the implementing steps and the proposed final outcome of the new system. SYSPRO’s Quantum Architecture, gives a “helicopter” view of the business, so that decision makers can pinpoint, monitor and determine the work levels in financial terms as well as key performance indicators of people, strategy, and business activities. The implementation team uses this tool to confirm that their new business processes are correctly designed and mapped to match the new software. SYSPRO’s team looks to ensure that every user understands exactly how their job will be affected, how they will benefit from the change, and how they will be educated and trained so as to be more comfortable with the transition to the new system.
5. “Mind Shift” Issues
The last challenge for a successful ERP implementation depends on the users and their willingness to adapt to new processes. Often times, it can be difficult to change company culture, so that is why it is important that the new system is managed from the top down. Managers and executives need to be fully integrated to the system so that their employees follow suit. Additionally, training is very important in the implementation plan as this empowers new users to utilize the full power & functionality of SYSPRO software and make quick changes to the new system. The SYSPRO implementation project team is still fully engaged from the go live date up to the first month-end. The first month-end is seen as a test of whether everything is working as planned and how the new users are adapting to the change in processes.
An ERP implementation involves making a lot of big changes at the company. Despite these challenges, SYSPRO has the proper planning and execution experience to deliver an overall successful ERP implementation.