We shouldn’t have to tell you that replacing your ERP system is a serious undertaking, representing a considerable commitment in terms of time and money. If you search on the internet, you will be able to find all sorts of stories about ERP implementations that have gone wrong and ended up costing businesses thousands of pounds to fix. In fact, research company Gartner has a well-known statistic which reveals that between 55% and 75% of ERP implementation projects fail to meet their objectives. While there are several factors that contribute towards this startling number, in our experience the main reason for failure is not selecting an appropriate system in the first place. In order to avoid making a costly mistake, you need to ensure you have a sound process in place for choosing your new system and that you are working with the right independent ERP consulting services company.
There are many reasons why you may be considering changing your ERP system. Maybe your existing ERP software is no longer supported by your vendor, or it could be that your business has changed and your current ERP system isn’t able to grow with you. Whatever the reason, you need to find a system that will manage your entire business operation both now and going forward, giving you and your employees access to the information you need; while at the same time making sure you don’t spend more than necessary on a system. A tall order perhaps? Not if you work with Greenbeam Consulting.
The independent services we offer here at Greenbeam Consulting will not only guide you through a clear and efficient selection process, we also make sure the process is thorough to ensure that you choose the most appropriate ERP system for your business.
In this guide, we aim to share with you our suggested steps for choosing a new ERP system:
Step One: Gain Senior Management Buy-In
Our years of experience have taught us that most successful business projects start with one thing – buy-in and support from the senior management team. Therefore, the essential first step you must undertake in your ERP selection project is ensuring your senior management team is bought into the project.
Having senior management buy-in also means that your employees will be more engaged with the project as well. It would be even better for you if at least one of them led the project too, as that way not only are they accountable for the success of the project, but they can also deal with any issues or delays you may have.
Step Two: Build Your Project Team
Once you have achieved buy-in from your senior management team, the next step is to build an ERP selection and implementation project team consisting of employees from across the company. Getting a representative team of employees involved means that your chosen ERP system should contain all of the functionality you need to manage your business processes, and it’s also far more likely to have universal user acceptance.
Once your employees can see that fellow employees from all business departments are involved in the selection process, they should realise that any decisions taken will be made objectively. This should, therefore, lead to better buy-in for the chosen ERP system across your whole business.
A key role in your ERP project team is the project lead. This needs to be someone who is comfortable with dealing with your ERP system supplier daily as well as with the whole project team – including any senior management team members. Their role is key to the success of the project as they will be tasked with driving the project forward, and they will have deadlines, KPIs and targets that they must ensure are met in order to keep the project on track.
Step Three: Define Clear Objectives
Once you have your team in place and have chosen your project lead, then you need to set out clear objectives as to what you want the ERP project to achieve. These should be related to your overall business goals, and should clearly state how your ERP system will help you to achieve these objectives.
Some examples of objectives you may want to set include:
- Gaining better financial insight into the business
- Reducing stock levels and therefore the costs associated with carrying excess stock
- Delivering more accurate real-time stock availability
- Reduction in delivery times
One step further than this would be to add actual numbers to these objectives and therefore quantify them such as:
- A 20% reduction in stock holding
- Next day delivery achieved for 80% of orders
It is not always easy to be this specific for every objective, but you should try and do this wherever possible as it makes it much simpler to measure the success of the project after it has been completed.
In the next part of our Guide to ERP selection, we will look at the next steps you should be taking including defining feature requirements, supplier selection and making the final decision.