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8 Reasons an ERP System Implementation Succeeds

Significant investment is required to purchase an ERP software package and so it’s important that firms go into the purchase with eyes wide-open. Many studies have been done on why an ERP system implementation fails, so what should your company know before purchasing an ERP system?  Through our own success and failures, we’d like to share with you eight (8) key areas that impact an ERP system implementation: 

  1. Executive Support – In order to get buy-in from employees on the importance of using any system or adopting any process you implement, you first MUST have executive support.  Your firm is investing a lot of time ERP System Implementationand money into this decision.  The message must come from the top.  If the executives of your firm don’t see the importance, then others will probably feel the same way.  As with any new process or change, it’s important to demonstrate a ROI and the key areas that will be improved within your company.   
  2. Establish Goals/Objectives – Make a list of the items that need to be improved within your company.  With that list, apply Pareto’s 80/20 rule to your business.  Focus on the 20% that matters and the other 80% of issues will fall into place.  What information do you need to grow your company?  What processes do you need in place to make things better, faster, and easier?  Be specific.  These goals should drive the functionality of your solution.  
  3. Invest in Training – A vital part, commonly overlooked in an implementation, is training.  Training enables and empowers your users.  Taking the “they’ll figure it out” approach is a quick way to discourage users from using the system.  Learning from experts on how to do it quicker, more efficiently, and correctly from the beginning can keep you from feeling you’ve wasted money on a system. The system doesn’t run the process; people do!  The system will only be as good as the information put into it so make sure to support the people within your firm that will help keep the process running smoothly.
  4. Choose a Champion – You’ve heard the saying about too many cooks in the kitchen, right?  Designate a consensus-building champion for the implementation.  We recommend identifying three main roles with distinct purposes: Project Coordinator (PC), Executive Sponsor (ES) and Application Administrator (AA).  The PC is involved with every phase of your firm’s implementation. This role will be involved with making key decisions and consider the global impacts of those decisions.  They are also responsible for the schedule, progress, and team communication.  The AA is an individual that develops a thorough understanding of the application throughout the implementation process, later performing the ongoing day-to-day administration, and leads the internal training effort. The ES is responsible for securing commitment from executive management, department/office management, accounting, marketing and project management and should be an individual within senior management.  They are to stay in contact with the PC and consultant to convey any expectations or concerns.
  5. Think About the Future – Make sure all areas of your company are talking to one another. Consider your growth plans, customer communications needs, and internal knowledge sharing.  Integration and streamlining processes impact profitability and obtaining/maintaining clients.  Most firms think about the finance side first; an essential part of any business since they handle the money. However, what about the side that brings in those customers or work with them on a day-to-day basis?  Is finance sharing information with them?  Integration can help breakdown the silos and build true customer interaction.  Keep in mind you don’t have to do everything at once, but make sure you think about the next steps.
  6. Gain Consensus from End Users – Gaining consensus within the company requires work upfront during the planning process.  Consider the needs of end users and how the process will impact all areas of the company.  Check back with them periodically to demonstrate solution designs to confirm you aren’t missing anything.
  7. Demonstrate Key Wins – Identify quick wins that can demonstrate progress with the system and track your results.  The goals established at the beginning should be checked periodically to ensure you are making progress.
  8. Take a Phased Approach – By taking a phased approach, the Project Coordinator isn’t burdened thinking about everything all at once.  Remember, this is a job upon a job.  On top of doing their daily duties, the implementation team is taking on a project that requires significant time and dedication.  In addition to spreading out the implementation, training should be incremental. This keeps employees from experiencing information overload.   

A successful ERP system implementation require a collaborative effort amongst your firm’s implementation team. Empower your employees and establish a good relationship with your consultant. Overall, strive to constantly evolve and improve your company in order to ensure you are ready for tomorrow’s challenges. 

Did any of these steps ring a bell during your past implementation? Do you have any suggestions to share? 

Be sure to check out other articles written by Sarah Gonnella

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