The availability of cloud-based ERP systems that are suitable for all companies – not just the largest enterprises – has made many companies keen to implement them.
If you’re in this situation, it’s important to determine if you are truly ready for an ERP project. If you act too soon, the project may well fail. To avoid that, it’s best to only go ahead with a new ERP implementation once you are really in a position to do so.
But how can you tell if you are ready for an ERP project?
There are several factors that can affect your readiness. To get to the bottom of the issue, we suggest you consider these questions.
Have You Fully Audited Your Current Systems and Processes?
A full audit of your systems and processes is needed before you can even think about new ERP software. It’s an essential part of the foundational work to evaluate your systems and ascertain which ones you will keep and which ones you will replace. Additionally, for those that you want to keep, you need to establish how you want them to integrate with your new ERP system.
Because an ERP system runs right across the business, you will want to streamline all your processes as part of the implementation. So, considering whether your legacy software will run alongside your new ERP system, or whether you will replace it, is essential.
A good example here is CRM software. Many companies run CRM software that is separate from their finance software. This may be down to the sales or marketing department having implemented it, while the finance department was only interested in accounting software. Many ERP systems incorporate excellent CRM modules, so it may be possible to easily replace your CRM. But equally, you may prefer to retain your system, as long as it interfaces well with a new ERP solution.
In looking at this sort of scenario, you can therefore evaluate the software options for each approach and uncover any issues or opportunities that each choice presents.
Do You Have the Budget for a New ERP Project?
The costs of a new ERP project implementation need not be prohibitive. But it’s important to check that you have forecast all the costs associated with the project.
This includes not only the initial expenditure on the implementation of the software itself, but also any additional costs for integration and customisation. Beyond that, you should budget for training costs and annual license fees, as well as ongoing maintenance or support fees.
Going over budget is one sure fire way that your ERP project will fail. To avoid this, accurately assess the costs involved and plan in some contingency too. Implementation partners will be able to provide free consultancy that gives you an expert assessment of your needs and a full breakdown of all your anticipated ERP costs.
Some ERP partners also provide ERP financing options that allow you to pay monthly, avoiding the burden of upfront costs.
How Long Will a New ERP Project Take?
The time to implement a new ERP system will vary according to the system being used and the type and size of company it is being implemented for.
All the same, you need to be sure you have planned for the right amount of time, building in contingency here too.
It may be helpful to work with each vendor you are considering. Together, you can roadmap the timeframes and set realistic interim milestones. By applying good project management skills, you should be able to map out the overall timescale that you require to realise the project.
Don’t forget to include time for undertaking a full feature requirements analysis as well incorporating the necessary time for data collation, cleansing and migration.
Do You Have the Internal Resources?
Undertaking a new ERP project is a considerable enterprise for any company. Aside from the budget and timing considerations, you should also be certain that you have the in-house resource to manage the project.
Working with an implementation partner will significantly ease the burden. But the project still needs internal oversight. You need a project manager that can devote their full attention to the project and be ultimately responsible for its success. They need to assign and lead a cross-company project team and ensure effective communication and collaboration.
Your project team needs experience of delivering company-wide IT change and should be drawn from all areas of the company. While the finance and IT teams often drive an ERP project, you should have representation from all departments that will use the software, so additionally that would include sales, marketing, HR, and operations – whether that be warehousing or manufacturing or professional services teams.
The Bottom Line
If you’re not ready, and you’ve not done the foundational work outlined above, then your implementation is more likely to fail.