How to avoid common ERP implementation mistakes
Getting started with a new ERP system? No doubt you are excited to start harnessing a raft of benefits, from process and resource efficiencies to new forms of business intelligence. However, there are some hurdles to get over before you get there. Plenty of ERP implementations hit obstacles along the way – but so many of these are easily avoided. Here are some of the most common.
Mistake 1: poor planning
It is easy to think of an ERP system as just another piece of enterprise technology you are introducing into your operations – but an ERP tool will touch absolutely every area of your organisation. Product development, finance and accounts, sales, marketing, purchasing operations – all of these departments and more will need to be integrated into the ERP system, which means that carefully mapping out their needs and processes from the outset is critical. The planning stage is the foundation of your entire ERP implementation project – get it wrong, and the problems will snowball.
Mistake 2: poor data
An ERP system is not a tool that you can just switch on and expect to start generating great value for your business. It depends on data to operate properly – that is, comprehensive and accurate business data. Is your customer database missing half of its contact details? Is the product pricing out of date in your inventory? Have you imported key supplier payment details incorrectly? Importing inaccurate or incomplete data into your new ERP system is a waste of time – you will simply have to go back and clean it up later, and this is likely to take longer and be even more complicated. Clean up your data at the start.
Mistake 3: poor budgeting
No one wants to hear that an ERP implementation is going to be expensive. But ‘expensive’ can mean many different things – it can apply to human resource as well as financial. The fact is that ERP implementations are major projects and you need to make sure you are able to resource them properly – with the right skills and experience as well as the right level of financial investment.
Mistake 4: poor understanding of cloud vs on-premise
Today’s ERP systems come in both flavours, as well as hybrid deployments, and the choices between them need to be carefully weighed up. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) models are increasingly recognised as offering an ideal mix of scalability, agility and flexibility, whilst open-source ERP solutions can ensure that they still offer plenty of customisation.
Mistake 5: poor timing
We get it. In the rush of deploying a shiny new enterprise tool, it can be tempting to implement the entire system all at once, and rush to try out the fanciest new features. But it is almost always more sensible to stagger your ERP implementation, deploying elements of the system in small steps and getting end users involved to give feedback and tailor the system as you go along. In other words, an agile rather than a waterfall deployment is generally most appropriate.
Mistake 6: poor post-planning
Once your implementation is complete, it is easy to think that the work stops there. But in fact, some of the most common errors in ERP implementation occur after the initial deployment – with failures to either properly assess and evaluate the deployment, or with failures to think about elements such as maintenance and training. Your ERP implementation should be thought of as the first step in a new era of your organisation – and it is crucial that you pay attention to what that new era will look like from the outset.
APH can guide you through every stage of a successful ERP implementation, from deciding the best approach and planning your project, through delivery, testing and evaluation. Get in touch with us today.