7 key considerations for successful ERP implementations

Jan 20, 2020

Congratulations. You have decided to migrate your ERP system to the cloud and soon will reap efficiency gains, new capabilities and access to transformative technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. A strong cloud solution also empowers people to spend more time on core competencies instead of wasting time on back-end operations.

A successful ERP implementation sets the groundwork for a strong system, relieves change management efforts and ensures organizational buy-in. Here are seven key success factors to ensure your ERP migration sets your organization up for success.

1. Organizational and leadership buy-in:

Change is difficult for any organization. People are comfortable with the way they currently do things and disrupting that can cause negative effects to the organization. Leadership buy-in is critical. Executives should drive the vision of the organization, as well as support the migration. This will help improve morale, motivate employees and quicken decision-making.

2. Selecting the right software and implementation partner

There are many cloud ERP systems on the market for all types of organizations, and it’s critical that your team takes the time to find the right system for your company. Conduct a fit gap analysis to define the requirements that your organization needs, and evaluate vendors based on their ability to meet those requirements. The last thing you want is to go through the effort of an implementation and realize that a system doesn’t fully meet your needs.

Selecting the right partner to implement that system is just as important as choosing the right software. You need to make sure the team you’re working with understands your needs, communicates with you clearly and works hard to implement your system the right way. Make sure you do reference checks for not only the system but also the implementation partner that you’re working with.

When choosing a partner, one of the first things to consider is whether or not they’re a good fit for your industry. Look for a partner that can demonstrate experience in your industry with a ready list of references and proven engagements. The partner should also have templates and other tools that are specific to your industry to help you realize speed to value.

Be sure to ask questions that also reveal whether the partner will be a good fit for your culture, which is necessary for a smooth implementation. These questions could focus on geography, language, work styles, values or any other attributes that are important to your culture.

Also ask about post-migration support, particularly managed services. Once cloud systems are in place, they’re designed to last a long time. A strong managed services capability is a good indication that the partner is set up for your long-term success.

3. Strong organization preparation and vision for the new system

As the saying goes, Proper preparation prevents poor performance. An organization should spend as much time as possible developing future-state business processes to prepare for an implementation. If unprepared, you risk spending additional time—at the wrong time—on process decisions, which ends up delaying your system configuration.

At the same time, be open to industry best practices and input from partners that have experience working with different cloud ERP solutions and can advise on the most cost-effective and efficient way to achieve process outputs while conforming to industry standards.

4. Team buy-in on adapting to new technology

Cloud ERP usually replaces outdated or paper-based systems that people have been using for a long time. When employees aren’t able to adapt quickly to new technology or simply don’t want to adapt, this presents a challenge. Organizations should invest in training courses for their employees to help them understand the new technology and feel more comfortable when working in a new system.

5. Dedicated project team with an executive-sponsored time commitment

One of the hardest tasks for any organization during a cloud ERP migration is managing the normal workload plus the time commitment needed for the new implementation. To prepare properly, the CFO should ensure that there’s a project team in place that’s given dedicated time for the project aside from their normal job responsibilities. Any project can be derailed when people burn out and just don’t have the time to complete necessary tasks. You can avoid this by carving out time for your team and checking in with those employees regularly to make sure they have what they need to succeed.

6. Buy-in and support from the organization’s IT team

Any system implementation needs support from the organization’s IT department so that it aligns with the existing technology footprint and security requirements.

7. Advisory and project management support from an experienced ERP implementer

Most organizations don’t implement new systems regularly; this inexperience can lead to poor planning and halt project progress. Your organization should collaborate with an experienced cloud ERP implementer for project management support and general advisory help. Although this may seem like just another added cost, this type of support helps organizations cut down on costly project delays and time spent by their teams working on avoidable issues.

Any ERP migration is complicated, and all organizations can hit road bumps along the way. Keeping these seven factors in mind will help your organization not only reduce the hurdles but also address any that do arise in an effective manner to stay on the road to success.