What is an ERP Implementation? 

What Is An Erp Implementation? 

ERP implementation

An ERP implementation includes installing your new software, transferring all of your business data, mapping your processes, and then, training your employees to use the software, and how to take advantage of its many benefits – to better do their jobs. Although it may appear to be pretty straightforward, ERP implementation can take months or even years to complete.
Like any other business-related project, successful ERP implementation starts with a clearly defined strategy that includes a well-thought-out plan – everything from analysis and system design, to testing, the much anticipated “go live” moment, and post-deployment support.
But before you dive in, know this – ERP implementation is a process. It needs to start long before you (and your organization) decide, not only which ERP vendor to go with, but which ERP system is best suited to your real business needs.


6 ERP Implementation Phases


1- Plan

The best way to describe the initial phase, is to quote the old adage, “It takes a village.” Planning an ERP implementation is never a one-man show, it’s supported by a team. You first need to establish an internal multi-disciplinary project team who are responsible for the planning phase. They collect information from all departments to better understand their challenges, and which pain points your ERP needs to address. They then build an implementation plan that includes a short list of ERP vendors, request and complete an RFP (Request for Proposal), and are responsible for ensuring that project milestones are met, including budget, manpower, and resources.


2- Work

The work, or better still, the “workflow” phase determines your system design. Here, your team analyzes your existing workflows to decide what stays, what needs to be changed, and what needs to go. Building this workflow helps the team choose which ERP features are critical to your organization. It’s also essential when or if you customize the system or add software modules to meet departments’ needs. The workflow also includes deciding on which data to migrate to your new system, and uninstalling unwanted legacy software, if/when applicable.


3- Develop

Typically, as you enter the development phase, your ERP vendor or an external ERP software integration partner, will working closely with your team to configure your new system, to get it primed and ready to be deployed. The development phase will also include creating a user training program, courses/workshops, user manuals, and other documentation your employees will need going forward. Next is data cleansing, to detect and delete inaccurate or outdated information, followed by importing (migrating) your data to the new system.


4- Test

Before your new system goes live, it must be tested. ERP testing is a QA (Quality Assurance) process designed to ensure the system is properly implemented and operational before the launch. It includes testing across multiple stages of the implementation process to prevent unwanted surprises, such as the system crashing when you go live. It’s also an opportunity to remediate problems or glitches discovered during the testing phase.


5- Deploy

Once your project team has signed off on system configuration, cleansed and migrated your company data, and tested the system – and your employees have successfully completed a new user training program, you can flip the switch – and go live. Yes, you can!


6- Support

Your ERP project team isn’t quite done… yet. Any newly-installed software system requires post-deployment support to ensure smooth, seamless, and hassle-free operation. It’s also essential to assist new users with system onboarding, and is often a steep learning curve. Post-deployment support also includes continuous system maintenance, fixing problems as they arise, in addition to ensuring data and user security, 24/7.

A final note

A successful ERP implementation doesn’t happen overnight. It requires stringent planning, and generating actionable insights that will lead to better informed decision-making throughout the implementation process. A clearly-defined strategy is the cornerstone of any successful implementation plan. It will also enable you to monitor and measure your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track your ERP system performance, so that when you’re finally ready to go live, there will be fewer surprises. 

Your ERP vendor should be readily available to you and your team, not only when problems are detected, but to serve as your organization’s long-term partner for support of any kind, and provide you with the help you need to keep your system up and running for many years to come.

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