The Virtutem team was lucky to have a chance to speak with Liz Quirk of Solutions Review. We wanted to ask her view on some of the most common questions we’ve heard since publishing our article ERP Implementation Tips for Overcoming In-House Operational Challenges and Resistance to Organizational Cultural Change.
Q: What are some of the biggest hurdles you’ve seen companies hit when implementing ERP?
A: Some of the biggest hurdles when it comes time to an ERP implementation project is having a poor understanding of the issues you’re looking to solve.
Each business is comprised of a number different components; sales, marketing, customer service, IT, and on and on. Even though each department has their own set of data and planning requirements, it all needs to meet one common point in the organization. So while everyone may have their own individual responsibilities, everyone is serving one main purpose at the end of the day. A well implemented Enterprise Resource Planning software can solve you data silo woes, but an already broken system can make things a bit more difficult.
In the case of some organizations, IT departments sometimes figure that in order to cleanly tie their operations together, any old ERP system will suffice. If you don’t have a strong understanding of what the underlying project is that’s causing you to implement an ERP system in the first place, you won’t be able to reap the potential benefits. To address this problem, there’s a pretty simple answer: keep everyone involved. Believe it or not, the best way to inform yourself about the problems you’re company is dealing with is to talk to everyone about their problems. While it may seem time intensive and a bit of a headache, you’d probably much rather have those people telling you what they’re looking for in a future ERP system, than the same people telling you what they hate about the one you just implemented.
Not spending enough time to find the right system. This can be seen as the root of a lot of implementation horror stories. You’ll need to pick a vendor that satisfies your needs. Keep in mind, this is a lot of money and a lot of time that you’re dealing with. ERP systems are a pretty penny (think thousands of dollars) and often take hundreds of hours to tweak. Vendors typically have different expectations about provided services, timelines, and costs than the businesses who use their software do. This disconnect isn’t really anyone’s fault but if you don’t take the time to find a vendor that understands your situation, you’re not going to end up very happy. While a couple of big names seem to dominate the ERP market, don’t believe everything you read. Big names seem to have the loudest voices so you should take the time to check out every vendor. Talk to vendors about the issues you could potentially see and what plans are in place to address those problems. We provide an ERP Buyer’s Guide to help simplify the process of searching/evaluating for you.
Q: Do you have suggestions when it comes to announcing the change to the company?
A: A step-by-step summary*:
- Get a Team Together
- Devote Time to Training
- Evaluate Your Hardware
- Plan for a Data Transfer
- Create Testing Scenarios
- Make up a Resolution Protocol
- Figure out the Configuration
- Note timelines
*from her articles “Your ERP Implementation Roadmap” and “Best Practices for a Successful ERP Software Implementation”
Q: What would be some of the top questions you’d recommend a company ask an ERP consultant?
A: I would ask*:
- On-premise or in the cloud?
- What type of Support and training does the ERP provider offer?
- How can we ensure the implementation project doesn’t exceed the budget?
- Does the software meet the needs of my business?
- What functionalities will my company actually use?
*from her article: The 5 Best Questions to Ask During an ERP Software Selection
Liz Quirk is the Worktech Editor at Solutions Review, an enterprise technology / business software review site dedicated to helping buyer’s choose the right enterprise solution for their business or organization. Quirk writes about ERP, BPM and Talent Management software with hopes of providing valuable insights to readers in order to help move the needle.