By its nature, ERP is full of promise. The appeal of market-leading ERP platforms such as Microsoft’s respected Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central, lies in an intrinsic ability to streamline, unify, enlighten and engender growth.
As well as this promise, is its potential. Robust software products that have the capacity to generate that coveted return on investment (ROI) for one. Add to that the draw of a reassuringly low total cost of ownership for organisations seeking to exploit product credentials, and a consummate ERP solution represents a truly magnetic draw for those in search of business process utopia.
There are so many rewards on offer – think automated workflows, actionable insights and analytics, and more control over your newly unified data than you ever thought possible. The business case for commissioning an ERP implementation programme is sound.
Outlay justified, thoughts should naturally turn to the journey ahead and seamlessly implementing an ERP system. Take heed however, a project with the scope of a typical ERP implementation is a complex process and requires commitment from all stakeholders.
Follow our ERP implementation steps to help you avoid common rollout pitfalls.
Crystallise the ‘Why?”
Long before implementing an ERP system, it’s important to communicate the objectives for your ERP implementation to decision-makers and your ERP implementation partner. 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 now, 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 demanding. Implementing an ERP system 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 possible.
Secure the buy-in
Since your ERP solution will touch every area of your operations, buy-in for the investment should be company-wide. Your C-Suite (CEO, COO, CIO for example) may well appreciate the need to implement a trusted enterprise business application such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. But unless other management and stakeholders share the same vision for change, achieving the necessary commitment for your ERP implementation 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 overspending.
- 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 rollout.
In summary: rationalise your objectives and get everyone on board.
Get IT right
The IT department will naturally play an integral role in your ERP implementation, but getting the responsibility and budgetary split right between management KPIs and innovation shouldn’t be underestimated.
IT staff may be adept at handling the configurations, customisation, and complex programming required to get the new system up and running. But it’s unlikely they’ll have the operational expertise, vision, and authority to ensure ERP implementation success. The IT role and budget should remain with the executives who have a firm handle on the overall business strategy, ensuring implementing an ERP system meets objectives and management KPIs.
This exercise is also about harnessing the power of IT and technological innovation to future-proof your business. As you’d expect from an end-to-end business management solution, ERP is designed to help your operations grow. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has the capacity to affect a heavyweight commercial transformation, and leave you well-positioned to exploit new opportunities – adding value today and as you evolve in the years to come.
In summary: define the IT budget with prudence.
Plan for change management
Your ERP implementation will have the capacity to manage, automate and optimise every area of your operations. From stock control, supply chain, and project management, right through to core financials, CRM, human resources, and marketing. Implementing an ERP system is a huge deal, and the impact on its users will be considerable – regardless of the size of organisation.
ERP change management is a necessary expense. ERP implementation brings new processes, different interactions with data, and a wealth of novel features. Change management must be there to help communicate information about the new system, and help employees manage their learning curve.
Effective change management should incorporate appropriate buy-in from senior executives, encourage employee engagement, plan for communicating updates, and include a comprehensive training strategy that will be delivered and thoroughly tested before go-live.
In summary: mitigate the challenges by preparing for change.
Appoint the right ERP implementation partner
Making the move to a next-generation ERP platform that will integrate information from every area of your operations, automate workflows and assign total control of your business data is no small feat. The success of the ERP implementation and your experience of it will depend on the specialist skill set of the ERP implementation consultant you appoint.
If your plan is to implement an end-to-end business management solution that will help your operations connect and grow while managing your financials, supply chain and your sales and customer service, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central may well be the ERP solution for you. Your choice of ERP implementation consultant should make the process of adopting, integrating, and commissioning either of these platforms a seamless and rewarding experience.
When implementing an ERP system, support is critical to success, so you’ll need to select the right partner and have the backing of a skilled, responsive team of specialists from the start – whenever you need them. Not to mention the ongoing business support that’s so critical to the long-term viability of any ERP implementation.
In summary: select an ERP partner who’ll deliver value over the lifetime of your investment.
When it comes to the Dynamics 365 Business Central experience, TVision is one of the most skilled Microsoft ERP platform partners in the UK.
If you’re considering implementing an ERP system and want to talk to a trusted partner, please contact the TVision team.