Crystallise the ‘Why?”Long before your implementation begins, communicating the objectives for your ERP implementation to decision makers and your ERP implementation partner is vital. It’s far easier to justify such a substantial investment if you question, communicate and crystallise. Why do you need a new ERP solution? If you’re moving from legacy systems you’ll need to explain the inefficiencies in your current processes. If this is your first foray into ERP you’ll undoubtedly be questioning both your transitioning operational continuity, and your expectations that the entire process really will set the transformative change you seek in motion. Why now? Whether you’re enjoying a period of substantial growth and the time for operational investment is nigh, or you’ve determined that not making the leap will be detrimental to your future viability, failing to implement at the right time can be damaging, if not catastrophic, to your operational health. Drawing up a list of programme requirements will make the job of selecting a suitable ERP software platform that meets the demands of your business strategy, as well as identifying the right time to implement, significantly less arduous. ERP implementation could and should be the best business decision you’ll ever make, but your organisation must identify specific functions the new technology will depend on in order to perform and achieve the cost savings and operational efficiencies you’ve documented. In summary: set your goals and make them as specific as it’s possible.
Secure the buy-inSince your ERP solution will touch every area of your operations, buy-in for the investment should be company-wide. C-level people (CEO, COO, CIO for example) may well appreciate the need to implement a trusted enterprise business application such as Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365 Business Central, but unless other management and stakeholders share the same vision for change, achieving the necessary commitment could be too much to ask. There are several steps you can take to secure the backing for your ERP implementation:
- Document how your current processes are performing or not performing. Address the shortcomings in your current systems and identify the issues that cause delays, waste and overspend.
- Demonstrate your ERP experience. If it’s lacking, take time to select a suitable ERP implementation consultant who will give you confidence in adopting the most appropriate platform for your business.
- Share your vision. Communicate where you want your business to be and how your newly designed business processes will effect the change your organisation needs. Encourage everyone to share their ideas on other possible improvements.
- Calculate the cost of your ERP investment. The true cost of an ERP implementation can be determined by analysing the key components of the project – deployment, implementation and ongoing costs such as administration, maintenance, infrastructure and support.
- Define your potential ROI. The documentation process and due diligence you’ll have undertaken should enable you to calculate the ROI you’re likely to achieve. The potential for increasing sales and productivity, cutting the cost of goods sold and making soft savings through more insightful decision making and better customer service, should go a long way to engendering executive buy-in for your ERP roll out.