Just as critical as making the right choice of software for your next ERP solution, it’s equally important to manage your implementation process effectively. Many projects get delayed and experience escalated costs, or they go completely off the rails—not because the software failed but because the implementation plan failed.
Putting together a strong plan is something your implementation partner can assist with. At Western Computer, many of our customers have turned to Greg Williams, our Vice President of Strategy, and Tammy Radecke, our Dynamics 365 Program Manager. Together Greg and Tammy have nearly 50 years of experience in planning ERP implementations, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
To give you some tips on planning your next ERP implementation, Greg and Tammy conducted a series of Q&A sessions with some helpful tips. Here’s a recap of their discussion with links to the videos to learn more.
The essential steps to optimize the time of your internal project team for a seamless and successful ERP implementation include addressing resource contention. The ERP project will consume a lot of time and may turn into a short-term, full-time job for some team members. It’s important to consider who will help them with their regular job duties.
Be sure to involve all the key personnel who understand your business processes so they can document the requirements and business processes of the new ERP system. It’s also important to establish a change management and approval process in case new requirements emerge after the project starts—you want to stay in scope as much as possible but still consider any new major requirements.
By setting clear goals early in the project, you can also ensure your new software improves upon your previous software and that users can make a smooth transition to the future ERP processes.
Select team members with a flexible attitude so you can adapt to required changes during the project implementation. Challenges usually do arise, such as an unexpected business event or changes in the available resources.
By building contingency plans and communicating openly, you can ensure a successful project outcome. With practical strategies for navigating the unexpected, you can also maintain project momentum and stick as close as possible to the original budget and timeline.
Establishing executive sponsorship and keeping them involved in your ERP project is critical.
The absence of a decision-making authority who the internal project team respects can hinder progress, cause delays, and increase costs. When a decision needs to be made to keep the project moving forward, someone at the executive level (or an empowered project manager) is best positioned to do so.
It’s just as important for your partner to provide access to their executives—just in case you need to escalate issues beyond the primary partner team. Even better, create an environment where the executives from both firms communicate to confirm the status of the project at various intervals and ensure timely project execution.
By working with a partner who can provide real-world examples of successful ERP implementations, you can gain insights to help you navigate the complexities of project management and maximize the benefits of the ERP implementation.
Assemble a strong internal team that can effectively champion your projects. Key considerations for choosing the internal team when embarking on your ERP project include selecting members who are familiar with your company's processes. You also want to empower a project manager who champions the project and who can drive change by making crucial decisions.
And by bringing in tech-savvy individuals, they can work alongside your implementation partner and contribute to the software testing and implementation. They can also work with your non-technical users who might need help in picking up the nuances of your new ERP solution.
You may find some members of your internal team resist following your implementation process. To avoid this, make sure the team is aligned with the defined processes at the start of the project.
Allow some flexibility for unexpected needs that pop up, but also set up a steering committee that includes executives and relevant resources to address such needs and ensure everyone is on the same page when deciding whether to include those needs in the project. Navigating the expectations of the team will allow you to steer projects back on course and achieve project success.
A Proven Implementation Methodology
If you need help planning an ERP implementation, Western Computer can help. We have developed a well-defined methodology for implementations proven to work for customers across many industries. Collaborating with businesses like yours, we’ve created a set of best practices to follow and can also advise you on the pitfalls to avoid.