Steps for ERP implementation success
By Heinrich de Leeuw, Managing Director, Seidor Africa
When organisations are considering a new solution, it’s usually because of the challenges they are facing with their existing system. Deploying a new ERP solution is a major project for any organisation. That’s why it is imperative to take things one step at a time.
First, address the challenges within the organisation and how the chosen solution will overcome these. The planning stage is critical as no one wants to find out too late that there are issues in the business that the new system cannot address.
During the planning stage, speak to all key stakeholders in the business about their needs. Once these have been mapped, researching solutions and comparing functionality will determine the best fit for the organisation – now and in the future.
The average lifespan for an ERP solution that is not updated regularly is about 10 years, which is why it is important try and keep your system up to date. SAP usually releases a new major version of SAP Business One every two years, along with patches that include innovations and meet the requirements of new regulations. When researching a new solution, it’s important to ask questions about the product roadmap to ensure it is future proof.
How to choose the perfect ERP solution
Once a number of suitable solutions have been identified, find out more about how they work and how easy they are to use. It’s also advisable to read customer testimonials. Download case studies and see how the solutions work in real life. See what customers have to say about SAP Business One here.
How to select an ERP implementation partner
When you’ve identified a solution that could work for the business, speak to experienced deployment partners. Probably the most important decision to make when rolling out a new business management system is who to choose as the implementation partner.
Culture fit is key. Find an organisation that shares similar values and that the business can work with into the future. An implementation partner must be trusted and have the right skills to deliver the project. If something doesn’t feel right, it often isn’t.
Many growing businesses have never implemented a true ERP system before and they will rely on their chosen partner to lead them along the right path. That’s why it’s key to work with somebody who has the right experience. Make sure the chosen partner has extensive knowledge of your business and your industry.
Work with an experienced ERP vendor
Once the system is live, support is critical for any business that wants to maximise its investment in an ERP solution and avoid downtime. Potential vendors must advise how long they take to respond to enquiries and close support calls. Speak to their customers and read customer testimonials. Customer retention rates are also revealing.
How to avoid ERP project failure
An ERP system implementation is rarely straightforward because no two businesses function the same on an operational level, nor do they have the same end-user requirements. However, a powerful end-to-end solution, offering leading edge functionality coupled with scalability from generic to very complex business solutions, such as SAP Business One, can help businesses to innovate, grow and boost profits.
Projects usually fail when there’s conflict and a misalignment of goals and expectations. Working with an experienced partner that has the right team with the right experience and, coupled with a proven implementation methodology, will help to avoid that.
It’s important to remember that each ERP project is different. There are no set timelines or schedules for these types of deployments, and a go-live date can rarely be set in stone prior to project commencement. Today, even the most successful businesses are facing significant challenges. That is why we nurture partnering relationships with clients, which in turn instils a long-term, sustainable framework for building trust that translates into bottom line results.