What to do before an ERP implementation project?

In our previous article, we discussed how a Business Integrator can help to maximize gains from technology implementations.

One of the most widespread technology implementation projects is certainly ERP implementation. It is viewed as a cornerstone of a digitalization journey, but it is also a complex and long journey for any organization.

Let’s assume you plan to implement or to upgrade your organization’s ERP, maybe you’ve already browsed some editor’s webpages, discussed the options with your colleagues and now, you feel ready to start the Project and to contact the ERP editors and integrators to get a quote.

But are you sure your organization is ready to start such a project?

Here are some often overlooked areas to consider before launching an ERP Project:

  • Have you ever asked yourself why you should (or shouldn’t) implement an ERP? You certainly have in mind some traditional arguments (current ERP obsolescence, integration benefits, standardize processes, enable data analytics, etc…) but are those reasons truly relevant for your organization? And does your ERP really answer these promises?
  • In order to convince your management team of the need for a new ERP, you certainly thought about creating a business case. But, is a business case the correct tool for that type of project? Will it enable you to calculate the benefits and the total cost of such a project?
  • You maybe haven’t chosen your software yet and you plan to create a comprehensive blueprint and publish a formal RFP to potential editors. But is it really the best way to go? Are there alternatives (show & tell workshops, …)?
  • There are plenty of software options on the market, are you aware of all of them? Do you want a “turnkey” software or a customized one? Do you want a cloud or a on premise solution? Do you want a natively integrated ERP or a “best of breed” system? Have you considered open solutions?
  • If you think that an ERP implementation is “only” an IT project, you are wrong. It will transform your organization & its processes, and that transformation has to be well prepared and supported throughout the project by a strong change management integrated approach.
  • Are you prepared for that transformation? Do you know where you want to go, is your strategic vision ready? Is your organization and your people mature enough to embrace this journey? Are they convinced that the transformation is the way to go and do they understand the key benefits / the “What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)? Is there a burning platform to move things forward?
  • You shouldn’t underestimate the power of a strong and dedicated team for this kind of project and you shouldn’t limit your team to IT profiles.  Supporting the business with internal Business Champions is indeed a key success factor for your project.
  • “ERP” is a broad concept which includes a lot of different domains (finance, logistics, assets management, HR, etc…). Your ERP implementation project can have a lot of impacts on your organization. Do you know the precise scope of your project and its broader impacts? Is it supported by a powerful sponsor? Is your governance bulletproof?
  • The trend on the market is “going to standard”. However, your processes may have to  evolve, sometimes deeply, to fit to your software standards requirements. Do you have to improve/redesign your processes before or after the go-live of your new software? How? Do you need a Business Integrator to go through this process?
  • Answering those questions before going into an ERP implementation project will certainly take time, but at ngage, we are convinced that this time is an investment that will both reduce your Project Risks and maximize your ERP benefits.

Our article series “I wish I knew”, based on our lessons learned from ERP Projects, will address each of these areas and share with you our insights and best practices drawn from our experiences.

In our next article, “Do you really need to implement an ERP?”, we will dive into the good and bad reasons to launch an ERP Project, its potential alternatives, and discuss whether or not you should establish a business case.

Now dear reader, do you see anything missing in this list?

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