Effective Strategy While Implementing SAP Or ERP Systems

by Daniel M Horton, CIO, Michael Baker International

Probable Slip-ups when Implementing ERP

There are several key mistakes that can be made while implementing a new ERP system. Some that come to mind are:

1) Not providing the adequate hardware necessary to handle the rollout of the systems.

2) Not allowing the proper amount of time.

3) Not involving the right stakeholders to contribute and take ownership of the project.

Solutions to the Issue

These issues, as with any implementation, can be counter balanced by proper and effective planning, not just by the IT project staff, but with a key representative from each department of the company. Since an ERP system affects the entire company, it is very important to put together a committee of individuals representing each of the departments that have a full understanding of their department and its workflows. The Information Technology and ERP teams will certainly take responsibility for the technicalities and functionality so it is imperative that you either have the onboard experience or you are partnered with the right consultants (sometimes both) to ensure as seamless a rollout as possible.

Things to be Remembered

If you choose to have your ERP system on premise, it is important to have development, testing, staging and production environments in place. With the amount of hardware involved, selection will be critical for reliability and resiliency. It will also be important to work with a hardware vendor that has on staff experience in specking out the proper hardware requirements. Even with all of the available cloud offerings in today's world, it is typically more cost effective to go with a hosted solution to reduce your server footprint and the need to maintain and upgrade hardware on a regular basis.

"Even with all of the available cloud offerings in today's world, it is typically more cost effective to go with a hosted solution to reduce your server footprint"

Word of Advice when Implementing ERP System

My advice to anyone implementing an ERP system would be: Do not rush the project. You wouldn't run your first marathon without a proper plan and training in place or you would burn out half way through. Implementing an ERP system can be the same way since it will be one of the biggest IT projects you can take on for your company. The proper setup, configuration and development of workflows can make or break your investment. If and when you run into an unforeseen incident, reevaluate the situation and adjust the schedule as necessary.

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over,"? John Wooden. It is so much smarter to take smaller steps to ensure proper functionality throughout each part of the setup phase rather than dealing with a lingering issue after the implementation. With participation from all levels of the management team, there will be a better understanding and sensitivity to the schedule and project plan. No rollout will ever go without problems, but with proper planning and always having a fall back option, you will minimize these mistakes.