This is the conclusion of our previous post in which we outline Panorama Consulting Solutions’ top tips for an ERP implementation, and while their tips were specific to a single brand of software, as we noted earlier, they are equally applicable to all major software deployment projects. We continue here with the last of their Ten Tips…
6. Ensure adequate training and change management. This should go without saying, yet too often we find clients all too willing to skimp on what is often among the most critical project tasks: training. Specific time and cost budgets should be included for training your day-to-day users in the details of how to use their new software, and how to apply them to your newly defined or updated workflows. By the same token, recognize that detours and changes along the way are inevitable. Build that understanding – and the time to address those changes and change orders – into your work plan to ensure adequate time for modification and absorption.
7. Understand why you are implementing. This comes back to defining, and then remembering, your business objectives. Make sure the new system remains aligned with your business processes. These will often be redefined during step one noted earlier, in which you define those processes. As famously said many years ago in another context: Keep your eyes on the prize.
8. Focus on data migration early in the process. Data migration is complex, and involves a certain amount of risk, not to mention planning. You should define your data migration plan, at least in general terms, before implementation. Just how much, and what, data will you migrate? Will it be acceptable for the first year or so to simply allow access to the old system for certain transactional data? Obviously, customers and vendors need to be brought over, and that must be a part of the plan, but beyond that… work with your provider and your staff to more carefully determine just what data should, and perhaps more importantly, should not, be brought into the new system permanently.
9. Leverage the value of Conference Room Pilots (CRPs). We recommend an iterative round of conference room pilots. This is where you and your provider step through each data entry component of your daily workflow and map the gaps between how you do things in the ‘old’ way and how you’ll do them in the ‘new.’ Here’s where process flow changes first outlined in step one get real. It’s also where you most accurately and finally determine what (and whether) system modifications will be required. And as we noted, it’s an iterative process, meaning it is a series of repeated run-throughs (typically, three rounds are adequate).
10. Chart the course. Your project charter should include allowances for project update meetings. Communications between each team’s project managers should be an open channel. We like to use SharePoint, in fact, to encourage collaboration over project open items. Assign responsibilities at an individual level, and check in frequently. Simply put, you cannot over-communicate during an ERP project, especially once things really get rolling.
We heartily concur with Panorama Consulting’s Ten Tips, and our comments above editorially speak to our own project experiences and guidelines as much as they do theirs. You can find more about them here.