Plan Your Business Featured ERP Article Featured Image

Information technology offers tools that help you run your business, improve your profit, and identify a wide range of opportunities. When you are ready to take full advantage of the Cloud, it is helpful to know what you want so that you end up with the capabilities you need.

Whatever your business or product, the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can streamline your service, data organization, and delivery.  In a local or global environment, ERP solutions help you use automation to enhance your competitive position—if your planning and implementation are handled well.

To deter scope creep, eliminate poor implementation, and avoid unnecessary costs, consider these best practices:

Begin with the end in mind:  Stay sharp on ERP objectives at the outset. Ask your managers and users these critical questions:

  • What is driving you toward a Cloud solution, and what happens if you do nothing?
  • Considering your current and desired future business state, what capabilities do you want? Which do you need to stay profitable and grow?
  • What does your “perfect world” solution look like?
  • Discuss and identify the economic return you expect from your ERP investment.
  • Determine your desired business impacts, savings, and benefits.
  • What is your time frame? Skilled implementation, effective modification, and proper training all contribute to your return on investment and improved profit margins.  If these steps are not adequately addressed, your desired economic and productivity returns get pushed further into the future.

Investigate your options:  Develop a comprehensive list of requirements and capabilities for your ERP solution with these tips in mind:

  • Appoint a task force to investigate industry solutions that address your needs.
  • Keep upfront and long-term costs in mind.
  • Work with a solutions partner to develop a short list of Cloud solutions that address your needs, wants, budget, and desired long-term returns.
  • While vetting potential solutions, compare the options with the capabilities you listed earlier. It is costly to pile on capabilities that you do not need. Ask your solutions vendor how you can achieve efficiencies without expanding the scope, or double-down and decide if you do need additional tools.
  • Ensure you have the capabilities to measure results.
  • Set and adhere to benchmarks.

Buy-in:  At the strategic, management, and tactical levels, be sure your users are informed, given participation opportunities, and kept apprised of implementation status.  Avoid the process or appearance of high-level tech decisions made without the benefit of input from people who will use the platform.

Communications and rollout: Poor communication easily defeats good planning.  Keep these points in mind:

  • Establish your project management team at the outset. Define roles and hold team members accountable for responsibilities.
  • Communicate status, timelines, and measurable outcomes.
  • Carefully vet your service contract, and ask about cyber practices, security, and platform continuity.
  • Conduct small-scale user acceptance testing. Watch for and address user resistance with a targeted response and additional training.
  • Carefully plan and implement a soft roll-out with a test group. Train department or unit power users to assist others.  Consider a rolling launch instead of an all-at-once implementation.
  • Set up user and “train the trainer” learning sessions.
  • Consider the development of e-learning courses, video tutorials, and job aids to help support ongoing, practical use of new tools and capabilities.

Conversion to ERP can boost your business capabilities, profile, and profit.  But your ultimate success depends on the care you take at the beginning and throughout your project implementation and management process.

Work with an experienced ERP solutions provider

With decades of experience in IT, accounting, and business information systems, NXTurn, LLC delivers experienced service and custom solutions to help you make choices, train staff members, and implement Cloud solutions that are right for your business.

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