Do you agree with the old proverb that “Forewarned is forearmed”? If so, then read on for our Top 5 Things you must do to ensure your ERP project is successfully delivered on time and to budget!
1. Consider your internal resourcing
A common error that companies make when embarking on an ERP project, is to focus all their attention on the resourcing of the ERP implementation partner that is delivering the project, without giving enough consideration to the internal resource requirements within their own company to deliver the project.
Ask your implementation partner to provide you with an estimate of the internal resources that will be required at each stage of the project: to participate in workshops, answer questions, undergo training, complete testing and so on.
If you think that your employees will be able to fit in all the project-related work required alongside their day jobs, without it having a negative impact on either, then you could be in for a shock!
2. Don’t underestimate data!
Perhaps the biggest unknown in any given ERP project is the quantity, quality and accessibility of the data that needs to be migrated from old systems into the new solution.
If your CFO is insisting upon importing 5 years of historical transactions from your legacy database into your new Cloud ERP system, it is quite likely that you will have no idea how many hours it is going to take to clean, map, transfer, and test that data, until you start the process.
Most implementation partners will only be providing you with ‘data migration assistance’ – which means that they will provide you with some guidance around how to import the data into your new system, but you will be responsible for most of the steps in the data migration process.
If you want to avoid weeks of delays and long hours over the weekend before go-live, make sure you put the extra time into planning for every data eventuality you can think of before you start the project. This point also applies to integrations with any weird and wonderful systems in your organisation that you want your new ERP system to talk to.
3. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to testing and training
When it comes to testing and training, companies sometimes make the mistake of thinking that they are nice-to-have activities that can be deferred if you are approaching your go-live date and running out of time.
Both of these activities are heavily dependent on internal resourcing, which is another reason they can feel like the easiest tasks to overlook and the quickest to skip over. As they make up proportionally smaller elements of the implementation partner’s budget and require a significant amount of committed internal resources’ time, customers sometimes do not focus on their importance as much as the more visible project tasks like requirements definition and configuration.
Inadequate testing can result in failure to catch potentially costly mistakes when it is still possible to rectify them for relatively low investment in time and money.
Inadequate training can jeopardise the long-term success of the whole project, by alienating the day-to-day users of the new system, at the most crucial time – when you need them to be open and positive about the changes you are asking them to embrace. Inadequate training can sabotage user adoption and make the internal change management process even more difficult than it already is.
4. Focus on getting live with an MVP
The principle of an MVP or Minimum Viable Product is one that is familiar to many tech start-ups – it is the idea that you should focus your efforts on building a product that you can sell as quickly as possible, by prioritising the key features it needs to be viable.
You might have 101 ideas about what you would like your product to do – but what are the 10 things it has to do on day 1, in order for it to be commercially viable?
It often makes sense to apply the same line of thinking to your ERP project. You might have just bought a system that can run your entire business and be customised to the nth degree, however in order to start deriving value from your investment, it helps to focus on an MVP that is lower risk and faster to implement as a starting point.
Perhaps replacing your accounting system is the priority and CRM can wait until later? Maybe that custom workflow to automatically change a field on a different record based upon a drop-down selection is a nice-to-have that you can come back to after you have successfully gone live.
Phasing projects helps to reduce risk and increase time-to-value – so consider implementing your MVP in phase 1, then adding additional functionality and enhancements in subsequent phases.
5. Communicate openly and often
Finally and perhaps most importantly – communicate openly and often. It is rare for a project to be plain sailing from start to finish, so you will always have to be prepared for conversations about issues that arise unexpectedly.
The worst thing that can happen is for issues to be hidden, as they can only be hidden for so long, and when they inevitably break cover they tend to be more damaging than if they were openly communicated as soon as they presented themselves.
Successful projects are always founded upon good communication, which in turn fosters a strong working relationship with your implementation partner.
At Elevate2 we have developed a unique project methodology called Tasklite which brings ensures that all the points above are efficiently adhered to, with a consistent process from pre-sales through project delivery and post-sales support that has successfully delivered small projects to multi-million-pound enterprise engagements.
Contact us for more information on how we can help ensure your ERP project is successfully delivered on time and to budget:
☎️ +44 (0) 203 733 2110