Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software promises to track all of your company’s resources as they pass through your internal processes. A successful ERP implementation will allow you to monitor tasks in real time and, more importantly, collect valuable data at every step. This data can then yield useful insights to help you fine-tune procurement, resource management, employee allocation, and much more. To implement ERP from scratch, you’ll need to proceed through several phases. Here’s what those phases look like.
Understanding the Phases of ERP Implementation
Although the exact number of phases depends on who you ask, everyone agrees that a good ERP project starts with thorough planning. You need extensive documentation. Is every essential process documented with step-by-step instructions? Are employee roles and their interactions clearly defined and mapped out? Since ERP works by digitizing and centralizing all of your processes into one program, you have to understand those processes perfectly. Otherwise, your software will clash with workers’ expectations and create more frustration than the solution.
However, this is also a good time to stop and analyze processes to see how they can be improved. There might be unnecessary steps that you can cut or, at the very least, automate using software. Take your existing process documents and draft new versions that envision how the process will go once you’ve implemented ERP software throughout the organization. Set goals for select KPIs so you can monitor progress in the future.
Software development is where the bulk of your ERP investment goes. ERP projects quickly go over budget when software engineers receive requests for features that weren’t considered in the original plan. That is why the first phase is so crucial. However, there will always be things you overlook during planning. Agile software development methods allow engineers to tinker and make adjustments along the way.
Once a beta version is ready, you may want to ask some of your employees to participate in a pilot program. Include a mix of tech-savvy and luddite workers for best results. Both engineers and other staff need to test out the software to find flaws and make recommendations for improvements. As an added bonus, having regular employees in the pilot group will help you when it comes time to train others.
Deployment and Training
Once the development phase has run its course, you’ll proceed to deployment. The software engineers will handle the technical side of deployment, including migrating data to the new system. However, your employees need to be ready to use the new software. Developers aren’t usually the best teachers. Leverage the knowledge from the pilot group and organize a few “vacation” days where employees can experiment and play with their new software.
Tracking and Improvement
Now that everyone is on board and your software is up and running, it’s time to monitor it and make revisions. Some issues may not manifest themselves for months or even years. Keep taking suggestions and monitoring the data collected to ensure the project satisfies the goals set in your plan.
If your company needs help implementing ERP or building software from scratch, book an Intro Call with Project Genetics.