Advances in technology have made ERP systems a popular way of optimizing how businesses operate. From streamlining production, HR and accounting processes to analyzing trends and reports, these software suites offer powerful benefits to businesses of all sizes.
However, the overall success of an ERP implementation is dependent on the strategic planning process. ERP implementation is a science and requires a methodical approach throughout every step, from assembling the project team, assessing business processes, setting objectives to developing the project plan.
In order to ease the transition, avoid these seven bottlenecks that can hinder the proper implementation of a new ERP solution.
1. Analyze Business Needs Thoroughly to Reduce Implementation Time
Although ERP suites are often distributed as a bundled platform, the features and modules needed for each business will vary greatly. Thoroughly analyzing business needs is essential in determining the proper features to integrate into the ERP platform.
This will also help to reduce costs and improve efficiency. By determining the business’ needs, the implementation can be staged and executed in the most efficient manner to reduce downtime and provide benefits where they are needed most. NetSuite consultants and other professional consultant services can help to speed up the process while ensuring that every aspect of the business is considered.
2. Conduct Thorough Training and Education
From employees to executives, resistance to change is common in any business. An ERP solution is only effective if it is accepted and used throughout the business. Proper training and education on the ERP platform can help to improve acceptance and reduce the number of errors made when using the new software. This allows your business to achieve results faster and conduct business with greater efficiency. Quick acceptance and transitioning to the new software also allows your business to retire old systems and free up existing resources for other projects.
3. Use Proper Load Testing to Prevent Post-Integration Issues
In most cases, cloud-based and SaaS ERP solutions will place stress on different parts of your business infrastructure than existing on-site solutions. This makes stress testing your new platform essential before deployment. These solutions typically use remote data centers and servers to host the platform as well.
Stress testing prior to deployment ensures that your new system will perform as expected and will allow you to make any needed changes to hardware or connectivity with minimal interruption to daily business operations.
4. Address Customization Concerns before Implementation to Avoid Conflicts
One of the biggest advantages offered by popular ERP platforms is customization. When choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, check with your provider to ensure that your desired customization and personalization options are available. Hosting features, such as multi-tenancy, might limit your options or introduce security concerns. Understanding how your ERP platform is hosted and how it might influence personalization options reduces the risk of complications or delays during the implementation process.
5. Ensure Compatibility with Existing Products
Sometimes, ERP solutions are not the best choice for a specific department or business process. If you intend to utilize existing software in conjunction with a new ERP solution, it is best to ensure compatibility between the products. Many ERP solutions feature API connectivity or allow users to import data from existing software to provide added benefit while still allowing the use of legacy systems. Inability to utilize existing software can delay deployment of the new system, create confusion and interrupt existing business practices.
6. Treat ERP Implementation as a Long-Term Project
Many companies assume that ERP implementation is a quick and simple solution. ERP management services will help to optimize implementation of a new system, however the process will still take time. The time needed to complete the implementation process will vary based on complexity and business needs. By recognizing the extended nature of many ERP implementations, businesses can reduce the risks of exceeding their ERP budget and ensure that the system is integrated properly.
7. Ensure that Proper Support and Resources are Available
Cloud-based ERP systems allow businesses to outsource the majority of their infrastructure and IT needs. However, there will still be times when on-site IT services might be required. By ensuring that proper support and resources are available when needed, your business can prevent any potential delays due to unexpected issues. Familiarizing support staff and other responsible parties on the support structure of your ERP service provider is also an essential part of preparing for a new ERP solution. This will ensure prompt issue resolution should the need for advanced support arise.
By properly researching and planning the ERP implementation, your business can reduce delays, avoid bottlenecks in the implementation process and maximize the return from these powerful software solutions. From conflicts with existing software to inadequate system training, these seven issues are some of the most common issues faced by businesses upgrading to a cloud-based or SaaS ERP solution.