The signs that it’s time for a new ERP system have become clear to you; you’re facing challenges and inefficiencies between the sales/customer organization and finance, as well as burdensome technical processes and/or systems. Because of this, you’ve decided now is the right time to implement a new ERP system. But making that decision is the easy part! The implementation process can be an arduous one, so we want to help you navigate that journey as best you can. To do so, I’ve outlined some key things to consider when implementing a new ERP system.
Consider your Technology Architecture
First, there is a critical consideration of technology architecture that needs to be well thought out and planned for when implementing a new ERP System.
- Is a Cloud-based ERP system best for your organization, or should you stick with an on-premise option?
- What database is most appropriate (Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, NoSQL)?
Not only are there a number of architecture question to solve for, but there is also the need for the business team to partner with the IT department.
Fail to Plan, and you'll Plan to Fail
You should also plan for a multiple month (and frequently 1+ year) process. Remember, it’s not just the time required to configure and deploy the new ERP software. The most successful projects require many months of planning—internal coordination among multiple departments, requirements definition, technical & platform considerations, cost justification, etc.
Most organizations would be well-served by partnering with an outside IT consulting company to assist in the project implementation; if only to just serve as an objective, third-party project manager.
Even this requires a fair amount of diligence, including:
- Discussing your needs internally
- Researching prospective business partners
- A bidding process
- Vendor selection and onboarding process
Who Will Provide Ongoing Support?
Finally, once you’ve endured the implementation process—whether with an outside consulting firm or via internal resources—you need to consider the best way for providing ongoing, production support of the new ERP system. In this regard, there are numerous options to consider—internal resources, a time and materials consulting model, and/or a managed services approach (spoiler alert: we can help you with this). Each option has merits and weaknesses, but it’s critical to select the option that’s going to work best for your organization.
The last thing you want to experience is a new ERP system with all the potential to provide operational efficiencies but, instead of being able to focus on optimizing your functional usage of the system, you’re required to put most of your energies into managing the technical complexities of new software. Here again, it’s critical that you spend the right amount of time and effort to determine your true needs, evaluate prospective partners (if using consulting or managed services), conduct a thorough sourcing process, and successfully manage the go-live and kickoff processes.
The path is never the same for any two organizations. Once you’ve decided that a new ERP system is right for your organization, what always holds true is that you should never underestimate the value in identifying your needs, planning appropriately (think: “measure twice, cut once”), and thinking for the long term.
Hopefully, this helps to serve as a useful reference for the many considerations related to whether (and when) a new ERP system is right for you. Of course, if there is additional guidance you need along the way, ManageForce is very capable to assist anywhere along the spectrum—from assessing your needs, to systems/project planning, to implementation, and production support. Drop us a line if you think we can be of help!