In this, our final post concerning the “ERP Paradox” (our series starts here), we come to what Aberdeen Research calls their Key Takeaways, after tallying the response of nearly 200 respondents to their survey on ERP implementation projects. To appreciate these key takeaways however, you really should read our prior three posts, each just a page long, to appreciate them in their full context. That said, here goes…
At some point in an organizational lifecycle, the decision is made to implement, re-implement, upgrade or improve their ERP system. While the benefits are many, there are risks as well, As we noted in our paradox, one of the biggest is the time that employees must take away from their daily routines in order to help implement a new system. Despite this, in the end, the pros – IF the project is done right, a big IF – will outweigh the cons.
Organizations about to embark on the ERP journey should strongly consider the following recommendations, as put forward by the analysts at Aberdeen:
- Establish a strong base. Define your business objectives. Map your processes. Identify what legacy systems or workflows must be integrated. Identify key data to be transferred. Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have your ducks in a row, that is, that your organization has been briefed adequately, is committed and is prepared to move into the new realm.
- Manage the project in an agile manner. 40% of respondents stated the need to reduce costs in the ERP implementation process. Therefore, be aware of changes in scope, and change the plan as needed. Expect surprises. But manage for costs that can otherwise spin out of control.
- Train employees effectively. To achieve maximum ROI, employees must understand how to use ERP in their daily jobs. The best companies use an on-boarding process with new team members to ensure they understand how and where to use their system.
- Measure and improve. The best companies measure quantifiable benefits resulting from ERP (sometimes, by the way, these are ‘hard’ dollars, other times ‘soft’). They can identify functionality that is underused or missing and alter their solution accordingly.
The tips and thinking represented in this series of four posts are intended to ensure that your organization maximizes its chances for success – and its ROI – from the implementation of ERP. If you’re interested in seeing the original Aberdeen report, you can find it here.
As always, we’re open to comment and input. What has or has not worked for you? As long-time ERP implementers, we’d love to hear your stories, comments and critiques. Feel free to comment at our blog at any time, and thank you for reading.