So you’ve made it to the final stages of your ERP journey—you’re just an implementation project and a go-live away from a business management solution able to facilitate your next decade or more of growth.
After realizing that your outdated or entry-level solution can no longer meet your needs, communicating the change, securing buy-in, and completing a vendor analysis, you’ve selected a solution and partner and are now entering the home stretch. Congratulations, after months of planning your move beyond QuickBooks, this long journey is coming to its conclusion.
However, if you’ve ever completed an endurance sport, you know that there’s a big difference between ‘almost finished’ and ‘completed.’
The same goes for your ERP implementation. You’ve gotten so far—why stop now? It’s time to buckle down and make it to the finish line.
Will there be a bit of a headwind or a couple hills? Yes. However, you’ve prepared for this and understand that even if an ERP implementation may not be “easy,” it can be manageable. Plus, if you’ve followed our advice, you’ve chosen a partner who has done this many times before.
The home stretch: Getting from implementation to go live.
As the title of our article implies, completing an ERP implementation project requires you to stay organized, keep your people motivated, and ensure the project stays on path. Here are a few tips to make that happen.
Planning for the process
Before completing an endurance race, you’re going to at least look at the map. Should you conserve energy for a big climb? Is there a stretch heading southeast in which you can expect a bit of sweet, sweet tailwind? At which mile markers should you break out your energy gel? Are you aiming for simply completing the race or are you going for time?
The same goes for your implementation. Prior to starting, you will work with your partner to determine which type of implementation project you will need, discuss your vision, needs, and project scope before writing up an implementation strategy. During this phase, you will discuss more about how your business works and work with your partner to establish timelines, benchmarks, and goals.
You’ve planned for the hills. You’ve set a goal time. Now you have to follow your plan. When completing an endurance event, it’s important to stay focused on the finish line. But the old adage, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” exists for a reason. It’s imperative that you maintain a pace that allows you to get to the end.
The planning process tells you a timeline. Project management is what gets you to the end. Project management is all about comparing the progress made against the original plan and thereby updating the plan.” To accomplish this, assembling a Project Management Team to guide the project from beginning to end is necessary.
This team includes an executive sponsor, a person high on your organizational hierarchy who is there to discuss expectations, answer questions, settle disputes, and keep spirits high. It also includes a project leader, someone who is knowledgeable about your business, has previous management experience, and can communicate clearly. This person is also in charge of setting team member responsibilities and keeping people on task within your organization.
When you make the move to implement ERP it’s easy to get distracted. Maybe you start to thinkof adding more nice-to-have features. Is it doable? Of course—today’s ERP is customizable, and your partner will be glad to take on the additional work.
However, you need to know each addition will shift the timeline and ‘additional work’ means more billable hours to build the product to your new needs. It’s much cheaper and much less risky to discuss every element before the project starts.
Keep your spirits up
Getting to the finish line is hard. There will be trying times and frustrating moments in both implementation projects and endurance races. Keeping spirits high throughout the process can help you get through. For ERP implementations, this means effective communication.
If you’ve followed our series, you know that proper communication prior to implementation helped you document your needs and instill a sense of ownership among the employees who will be affected most. However, now you need to expand this communication across the organization.
It’s also important to note that communicating exactly what is happening, why it’s happening, and when it’s happening throughout the process will keep everyone in the loop and mitigate the anxiety ERP implementations can bring.
Surprises can be both good and bad. If your employees – the end users – understand from the beginning that adopting ERP technology is a business initiative and strategy and not just a new software package or an IT project, then they are more likely to support the entire process.
The journey to ERP starts with the right advice
Since 1994, NexTec Group has been in the business of software, and as a leading reseller of Acumatica, we have helped customers just like you to realize the benefits of the product and implement the solution without any hiccups. Get to know more about our work here, find your local office, and contact us for a free consultation.