Planning an ERP implementation project is a grueling process.  In previous blogs, we’ve spoken to the horror stories of failed ERP implementations and how they’ve become nightmares for those considering a new ERP project. However, more often than not, the difference between success and failure is subjective, more of a perception than a quantifiable measure. The perception relies on the unique set of goals and objectives set by the business, and whether or not these goals and objectives were clearly defined at the onset of the project.

This may sound harsh, but here’s the good news: Your business doesn’t have to be added to the laundry list of failed ERP implementations. With sufficient preparation and clear communication between employees and the selected partner / consultant, the risk of failure significantly decreases. Of course, ERP solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all but, the most successful implementation strategies include some variation of the following checklist.

Project Checklist:

•   Assemble your ERP implementation project team. This should include your project managers, consultant / partner, and end users.

•   Set clear expectations with all parties involved in the project. Without a detailed game plan, you might as all throw your project out the window. During this process you should: define your expectations, establish a reasonable timeline with realistic goals, and outline project specifications such as third-party enhancements.

•   Engage your employees with open and honest communication.

•   Set a budget. Establish a realistic budget and prepare for unexpected costs. Your budget should include hardware and network upgrades, outside support/consulting costs, overtime pay for employees, and additional funds for unforeseen expenses.

•   Prepare for data migration. Data migration isn’t as simple as it sounds. Prior to your data migration, you will want to cleanse your data for duplicate and/or inconsistent information, and test the migration process until it’s flawless.

•   Train your end-users. Without adequate end-user training, your ERP implementation will be worthless. Your partner should provide your team with the proper training and continue to train your end users even after the project has gone-live.

•   Devise a comprehensive go-live strategy. Your go-live strategy is the most important step of the whole implementation process. This plan should include: usage scheduling, network speed and reliability, back-up processes, and communication strategies.

•   Post implementation evaluation. After your ERP software has gone live, evaluate your new solution with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some examples include workforce productivity, client satisfaction, and revenue generation.

ERP implementation projects will never be wrinkle free, but you should work with your partner/consultant to establish a clear project implementation plan with measurable goals and objectives.

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