Large organizations have invested a lot of time and money into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.  And yet, many aren’t satisfied with the value their system delivers back to the business. Before starting over with a new ERP evaluation and selection process, it may help to take a step back and examine the ways in which your current system could be better.  Even if you ultimately decide to implement a new ERP system there are ways to maximize value in the short-term while also setting your new implementation project up for success.

Here are five recommendations for maximizing the value of the ERP resources you already have:

1.      Regularly Review Business Processes

Broken, redundant, or poorly defined processes are often the cause of broken business systems.  If this is the case, even the best enterprise system will merely mask the problem instead of fixing the root cause.  It’s important to periodically document business processes in order to identify any potential causes of misalignment between your technologies and your operational expectations.  Identify any activities intended for ERP that are being performed outside the system and eliminate any “rogue” alternatives. Ask your partner, vendor, and users which processes can be automated, integrated or otherwise simplified.

2.      Identify Potential Organizational Change Issues

If users view the ERP system as an impediment, they will likely look for other ways to capture and categorize information, turning once again to non-ERP databases and alternatives.  Whether intentional or not, employee resistance to change is a common root cause of poor ERP system performance. Employee resistance can be difficult to identify and address but can go a long way in improving operational efficiencies and effectiveness.  Conduct an organizational assessment to determine where the organizational issues lie and develop an organizational change management plan to address them.

3.      Provide users with Targeted ERP Training

Even the best system, implemented perfectly, is ineffective unless your end-users know how to use it.  Employee turnover can often lead to a large number of ERP users without formal training from the initial implementation.  Develop a detailed training plan to keep your employees properly trained throughout the life-cycle of your ERP system. Your ERP training plan should adhere to ERP training best practices to continuously empower users to be more productive using the system.

4.      Develop an ERP Product Update Strategy

Once process and people issues have been remedied, it’s time to look at the system itself.  ERP vendors invest heavily on consistently improving their solutions with regular functionality improvements, service packs, and other updates that allow users to benefit from lessons learned and emerging technologies.  Regularly implementing these updates should enable your organization to get the most out of your ERP solution throughout every stage of its life cycle.

5.      Consider Expanding the ERP’s Functionality

Another way to add value to your current ERP system is to expand its functionality and usability through customization, add-ons, bolt-ons, or integrations with third-party systems.  These enhancements can be added to your existing system to address specific business needs and functionality gaps identified within the current system. Extending the functionality of the system can extend the life of your current ERP system until you’re ready to make the move to a new ERP system.

Implementing the above best practices can help organizations ensure that they extract maximum value from their ERP system with minimum effort.  However, fixes to your current system don’t always yield a greater return on investment or lower cost/risk than a full rip and replace ERP implementation project.  If a new system is the better option for your organization’s ERP needs, the above steps will help you build a bullet-proof business case for the new system by comparing the cost and benefits of the new system to the cost of fixing your current ERP system.

Contact us today if you have any questions about maximizing the value of your current ERP system or building a business case for a new implementation.

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