Is there such a thing as perfect timing for an ERP project? To be honest, there is never a perfect time. Coordinating schedules with key staff, working round holidays or a big project that another department is running or simply trying to avoid creating confusion for your customers – implementing new software can seem like a complicated obstacle course.
But there is a solution for everything. Because once everyone in the organization can see the advantages of the new system and how it will directly benefit them, those schedules and key dates become a lot more flexible.
In short, timing has a lot to do with your colleagues’ mindset, and first on board must be the CEO and management team. If you can present them with the clear, strategic commercial advantages of an ERP – without getting lost in the technical details – they will quickly become ambassadors for the project. The attitude of the management team is key to getting employees on board. By the way, it’s worth noting that an experienced ERP partner can actually help you with a business analysis beforehand.
The three most important criteria for setting the start date
1. Take adequate time to prepare
Nobody invests in an ERP or CRM system without good reason, and limited preparation can lead to longer implementation or unsatisfactory results. Be sure to take the time to lay out your long-term vision and business objectives, align them across all departments and then communicate them to key staff. The better you present your strategic goals and the requirements to achieve them, the better you can work towards the optimum end result.
2. People, people, people
Implementing an ERP or CRM system often demands a lot of time from key figures within your organization. By default, they will already be in demand on other projects. These key figures will need to be temporarily freed up, and you can’t do that at the drop of a hat. Identify those who are necessary to bringing your plan to fruition and accept that they will need to devote at least half their time to the project, possibly for weeks or months on end. Assess what extra back-up they will need in terms of workforce and how long it will take to train and get support in place before you join forces with an ERP partner. This will save you having constant interruptions when your key figures need to attend to their own work priorities.
3. Communicate openly about the objectives
ERP or CRM implementation can bring about big changes. Paying attention to the ‘change’ aspect is often a crucial factor for success. Some staff may fear change and it is a perfect moment to engage them with your ideas for plans, intended improvements, and the importance of them to the organization’s future. Getting people on board can also provide you with an opportunity for them to share best practice and add ideas, which can greatly enhance your plans. And remember, regular updates during the project are not a luxury and will help everyone to pull in the right direction. Decide on the channels and means of communication beforehand and this will help with the timing of your plans.
In a nutshell
You do not have to decide on an exact timeline for your ERP project on your own; your ERP partner can help work out the best possible timings with you. Your priorities are to get the groundwork done by laying out your goals, bringing people on board and openly communicating to all your plans for the future
You can find out more about how to effectively prepare for ERP implementation and the success factors, risks and pitfalls in our free e-book ‘The ERP Selection Process’. Would you like to find out how Cegeka tackles ERP challenges? Take a look at the benefits we can bring you as ERP partners.
Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations - Evangelist