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ERP Implementation-An Important Business Decision

by Kumar Siddhartha, MD, Sage Software Solutions Pvt Ltd. September-2016

ERP, a tool to give the information, insights and tools to businesses to move ahead is said to be successful and effective if it renders a complete business solution and not just software that replaces spreadsheets and Excel. In fact, it is a catalyst for business growth. Whether you are a multinational organization operating in multiple geographies or a start-up entity looking to gain an edge over your competitors, you need to have the right and powerful tools that promote seamless flow of data as and when required and on any device from anywhere to help take strategic and well-informed business decisions.

I believe a successful ERP implementation is the one which delivers satisfactory ROI (Return on Investment) and is implemented effectively within the stipulated time, budget and resources. In fact, I think success of any implementation should be calculated on the basis of certain important parameters or key success factors as follows:

• Focused project management

• Well thought-out budget and resource

• Project time allotment

• Detailed project scope

• Modifications/customizations

• User engagement and participation

• User training/communication

• Documented user guide

• Well-planned data migrating plan

• Complete system testing

• Successful project closure post go-live phase  

Here is why ERP implementation is regarded as the most important and a big task for any organization, especially for a growing business because:

• ERP improves the overall operational performance, efficiency and excellence of the business

• It helps boost data accuracy and consistency in data flow and comes as a helping hand for employees making their lives easier

Appropriate training is the key to unchain the true potential of an ERP solution

Training forms the crux and one of the top priorities for each ERP implementation project. Thus, one should ensure to devise a sound ERP training plan and strategy right before kicking off the implementation processes to help businesses get the most from the solutions. A comprehensive and well-planned training plays a pivotal role in:

• The overall success of implementation

• Nurturing productive end-users

• Reducing costs

• Improving operational excellence

• Reducing attrition rate

Failure to conduct a proper and thorough analysis of business process requirements can trigger havoc in the long-run affecting profitability and productivity for any organization. The expert ERP consultants and engineers must put in honest and thorough approach to uncover several operational areas of a business that require improvement. 

Requirement analysis undeniably is the most vital part of every ERP implementation strategy. Nevertheless, it is equally important for the management and staff of the organization implementing the business solution to be tuned in and be receptive to the idea of change. One of the top reasons for ERP implementation failure is the attitude that “we have been doing things this way and your business solution needs to adjust according to our old processes” instead of “Bring in the best possible processes and we will change our organization’s business model to match with it along with keeping some of our unique features which makes our organization different from others”.

Nevertheless, one of the prominent compatibility issues with ERP modules which most companies face is the case of the initial reluctance at the employee level to adapt to new ERP systems that offer complete control leaving aside the “it can do anything software”. The management must devote time for a successful business solution implementation. It must make well-informed decisions and drive the organization to chuck away inefficient processes and guide as well as cajole the team to adapt the new systems through rewards.

I believe keeping some important pointers in mind while investing in infrastructure would turn out to be effective and useful for companies. Some of these pointers are:

• Explore diverse ERP infrastructure and hardware options at hand

• Reassess current infrastructure, hardware and other IT systems thoroughly

• Check for scalability and mobility of the infrastructure in consideration

• Do you prefer on-premise or cloud servers? What fits your business type?

• Understand the server architecture that suits your business

• Fair assessment and bolstering in-house IT infrastructure in terms of Human Resource

Irrespective of whether a business opts in for a multi-phase or a single-phase implementation, infrastructure challenges remain the same and should form an integral part of initial discussion for a successful ERP implementation

It’s all about timing and thus, for smooth transition, I suggest to consistently move the legacy infrastructure and IT systems at the same pace as the ERP implementation stages proceed. Timing is everything!