How to select and implement the ERP that works for your business

Prospective ERP adopters who require more guidance can follow these commonly used system selection and implementation strategies.

Implementing an enterprise resource planning solution is neither easy nor inexpensive. In fact, most organizations pay between $2,000 and $4,000 per concurrent user, according to ERP News. This fact alone should incentivize adopters to proceed slow and steady. However, many rush through the process in an effort to catalyze transformative internal changes as quickly as possible. The opposite normally occurs, as fast-moving companies implement solutions that weigh on the business and drain cash coffers.

Such situations are easy to avoid with patience and planning. Prospective adopters who require more guidance can follow these commonly used ERP selection and implementation strategies:

Get executive support
Before information technology teams can begin evaluating solutions and developing implementation plans, business leaders must allocate the required resources and, more importantly, offer their endorsement. Many firms manage to get funding but fail to secure the full support of senior leaders. Why? Lack of communication, according to CIO. Implementation managers should reach out to corner office dwellers and discuss the project in detail. It helps to connect specific components to overarching organizational goals, as this demonstrates to executives that the proposed ERP is more than just some glorified backend system. In reality the solution can drive change across the business, opening up new revenue-building opportunities that make far off sales targets more attainable.

It's important for project stakeholders to continue these relationships as things progress, offering occasional progress reports and project updates. Sometimes, C-level clout is the perfect solution to internal or external resistance.

"Planning is an essential part of the ERP implementation process."

Make a plan
Planning is an essential part of the ERP implementation process. Yet, many businesses simply skip this stage, believing they can select and put into place the perfect system without articulating project goals and system requirements. In reality, this strategy rarely pans out for obvious reasons. Internal ERP teams should instead embark on an extensive two-part planning journey, according to ERP Focus. The first leg involves identifying the specific operational issues the solution is meant to solve. These should be big-picture items that regularly arise during intraoffice gripe sessions or company meetings. Along with these issues, implementation teams will need to dig into the business itself and pinpoint the operational qualities that make it unique. With this cross-section of data, stakeholders can create accurate project goals off of which they can formulate platform requirements.

When it comes to listing essential software features, it is important that implementation teams not only formulate these needs internally but also reach out to end users – the senior managers and ground-level employees who will ultimately use the ERP. In the end, systems like these are only effective when users embrace them and, in order for this to happen, they must have a say in the selection process, Manufacturing Business Technology reported.

After receiving and processing platform input, implementers must move onto compiling an exhaustive feature list. When vendor evaluations begin, this document will serve as guiding light, revealing the way through gimmicky demos and marketing speak.

Be discerning
Some ERP providers deploy highly orchestrated presentations designed to sell viewers on an idea, rather than an actual product. Even the most seasoned IT personnel can become ensnared in sales traps when viewing these spectacles. With this in mind, implementation teams should carefully consider the offerings they see and take extra steps to ensure vendors can deliver on their promises. How? Asking for client references is always a smart move, as these companies can attest to live system usability, according to CIO. Additionally, it is always wise to go with a software maker that has industry-specific experience. Too often, implementation teams collaborate with green vendors whose offerings do not work well in specialized operational workflows.

With these strategies, prospective ERP adopters can implement systems that have the potential to transform the business, bolstering productivity and efficiency and revealing new revenue streams. Is your organization prepared to embark on the ERP adoption journey? Connect with Accent Software today. As a Microsoft Business Solutions Partner, we offer Dynamics NAV/ERP-based products fit for use in a variety of industries. With our help, you can adopt a transformative product that can streamline key backend processes such as inventory management, job costing and scheduling. Plus, our seasoned implementation personnel can help you adopt a game-changing solution that fits your operational needs. Reach out today to learn more about our ERP offerings or schedule a demo.