Step-by-Step Guide for Your ERP Implementation
What is an ERP implementation?
In order for companies to begin benefitting from Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP software, they need to first go through the process of ERP implementation.
The ERP implementation process involves multiple phases for getting the ERP software up and running in an organization. This is true whether a company has chosen to implement a traditional, on-premises ERP solution, or a modern, Cloud-based ERP solution.
Phases of ERP implementation
As every company has different requirements and different processes, there is no single prescribed way to complete an ERP implementation.
However, ERP implementation typically includes variations of the following phases:
- Discovery & Planning
1. Discovery and Planning
In the discovery and planning phase of an ERP implementation, a team is assembled to take ownership of the ERP implementation. Each team member should have a role in the ERP implementation process with delegated tasks that they are responsible for.
As part of the discovery and planning phase, information is gathered within the company to understand the requirements of the company. Information to be gathered includes:
- Pros and cons of various possible ERP software solutions
- Issues occurring in existing business processes
The discovery and planning phase of an ERP implementation should involve employees and contractors who will be using the ERP software on a daily basis. These employees and contractors are the ones who understand best what is needed out of the ERP software and what features could be useful.
The design phase of an ERP implementation involves taking the information gathered in the discovery and planning phase and crafting a detailed design of how ERP software can meet the requirements of the organization.
Existing business processes are analyzed to see how they can be incorporated into the ERP software. Processes might need to be adjusted so that they can be optimized through the use of the ERP software.
The ERP implementation team members taking responsibility for the design phase should evaluate how the ERP software needs to be customized and what integrations with existing software need to be developed.
Upon completion of the design phase, the ERP implementation team starts developing the customizations and integrations needed for the successful implementation of the ERP software solution. Further, in the development phase, data is migrated from the software currently being used into the ERP software.
It is advisable that in the development phase, documentation needed for employees and contractors to use the ERP software be written.
The development phase of an ERP implementation presents companies with an opportunity to determine what historical data is no longer useful and does not need to be migrated into the ERP software.
At this phase, companies that have chosen to implement a traditional, on-premises ERP solution should purchase and configure the computer servers and networking equipment, as well as other IT hardware, needed to run the ERP software.
Once the necessary customizations and integrations have been developed as part of the previous phase, the customizations and integrations need to be tested. Also, migrated data needs to be tested for integrity to make sure no data has been lost.
If a Cloud-based ERP solution is being implemented, Internet connections at company premises should be tested for speed and reliability.
Some organizations choose to test each ERP module independently as it is developed. Other organizations choose to test the full capabilities of the ERP solution all at once.
The deployment phase in ERP implementation, also known as the go-live phase, comes after the ERP software has been tested for use in real-world transactions and scenarios.
At this point, final, last-minute data migrations are completed and the ERP software is put into ordinary, everyday use by company employees and contractors.
Despite having successfully completed all of the previous phases of the ERP implementation, the ERP implementation team should expect some user frustrations to arise, as users familiarize themselves with the ERP software.
Employees and contractors will, over time, become more comfortable using the ERP software. The company will start seeing higher levels of efficiency and productivity.
In the support phase, which continues indefinitely, the ERP software is kept up-to-date and customizations to the ERP software are made in response to user feedback.
As new employees and contractors join the company, additional user accounts might need to be created.
Throughout the support phase, the ERP implementation team wants to make sure that the company is realizing utilizing all of the benefits of ERP software.
How much does an ERP implementation cost?
The cost of ERP implementation varies from company to company, as every business has its own unique requirements. Further, the cost of ERP implementation is different depending on whether an on-premises ERP solution or Cloud-based ERP solution is being implemented.
Tips for creating an ERP implementation project plan
Do not underestimate planning
The implementation of ERP software is a substantial undertaking. Careful and deliberate planning helps to ensure that the ERP software is implemented properly and provides all of the benefits that a company wants out of their ERP solution.
Make sure you have the right support and training
Companies that partner with experienced ERP professionals to help with their ERP implementations get up and running quicker than companies that try to implement ERP software on their own.
Most importantly when implementing ERP software, members of the organization need to communicate what they require of the software and what issues they are experiencing with the software.
Through effective communication among organization members, the implementation of the ERP software can continuously be improved on.
Communicating difficulties with using the ERP software can help with the improvement of documentation written for the ERP software.
Speak with a professional to find out the best way for your business to implement an ERP solution.