Can ERP implementation happen remotely?
The changing global landscape has caused many businesses to seek out new ways of remote working. ERP automation can help companies navigate business disruption caused by COVID-19, but can an effective ERP solution be delivered off-site?
In the new world of work, traditional on-site project build is not the most convenient choice. This is leading many ERP providers to offer remote implementations for their clients.
“Remote project implementation is not new,” says Sean Fowles, New Business Sales, Seidor Africa. “Off-site consultancy for ERP project implementations has always been available. In some cases, remote delivery is the preferred approach when dealing with multi-company, multi-site implementations. Collaboration with the client and a skilled IT engineering team are a prerequisite, however.”
Fowles says there are four requirements for successful remote ERP projects:
Successful ERP implementations begin with education. It requires organisations to develop an understanding of their business processes and to map those. This allows the team to define the business entity, who is responsible, to what standard a business process should be completed, and how the success of a business process can be determined.
It’s an exercise that requires the collecting of documents pertaining to current processes, reports, a chart of account, source systems, and organisational hierarchies.
Remote ERP implementations can be seen to be challenging because it is new territory for some. It is not a challenge when it is understood that thorough planning has always been important for a successful ERP implementation. This is even more important when team members are working remotely. It helps to ensure everyone is clear on their objectives.
Large ERP projects often have a dedicated meeting room with timelines and status updates displayed. With a remote team, this practice is still extremely useful, but it needs to be done virtually. Interactive whiteboard applications offer real-time collaboration for remote workers, enabling visualisation and promoting engagement between those involved. Similarly, HD video-conferencing units allow for face-to-face connections and create an environment where people are more likely to share innovative ideas.
Iterative building provides many benefits: major risks are identified and addressed early in the project, requirement changes are identified and prioritised efficiently, project team utilisation is optimised, and progress and quality are continuously monitored and corrected.
Building in phases requires workflow templates, security templates, mapping templates and comprehensive reports. Collaboration and connection with the team will ensure that all members are properly enabled to complete their tasks. It’s also important to address all the ‘how-to's’ separately with individual team members.
4. Test and deploy
Consistent testing will help to keep project stakeholders engaged and interested. Plan the testing phases and create test scripts to facilitate the process. Keeping a pulse on how project team members feel about the status of the ERP implementation is important.
Using multiple teaching methods, such as pre-recorded videos and demonstrations, can keep employees engaged during training sessions. They are more likely to look forward to future training sessions when the content is short and engaging, which means that deployment is far more likely to be a success.
“The process of remote ERP implementation can help to prioritise issues and stay focused on overall go-live goals,” says Fowles. “With the aid of remote collaboration technology, focus and commitment of the team, a successful remote ERP launch is within everyone’s reach.”