Why agree on a roadmap and budget?
ERP is more than an IT project – it’s a long-term strategy. Therefore, it requires careful consideration and a long-term plan. Your ERP roadmap and budget should span multiple years and take into consideration that the landscape is changing fast. So it shouldn’t be set in stone either, but be flexible and flowing – like a dance.
An ERP system allows you to optimize your processes and connect people across departments, make you able to spot and act on opportunities faster. That’s not a ‘one-and-done’ exercise, but requires constant tweaking. On the one hand, you need a strong foundation that covers your critical business needs, but on top of that you’ll want the flexibility of continuous optimization.
Why having an ERP roadmap is important:
- ERP is not a one-of, but a long-term strategy that takes careful consideration.
- By setting up an ERP roadmap, you align business and IT.
- You build the mindset of a living ERP strategy: a constant process towards continuous optimization.
- You facilitate change by providing people with a point of reference and insight in the ERP project.
Want to know more about the challenges, risks and success factors for your ERP project? Check out our practices for a solution assessment!
Choreographing your roadmap
Now we know why you should invest in an ERP roadmap. But how do you create one? Much like a choreography, building an ERP roadmap is a step-by-step process. These are the phases we tend to go through:
- Interviewing stakeholders: talk to everyone that will be affected by your ERP project, from management to specific project teams. Combine your insights from their expectations and concerns with a SWOT analysis, the company’s strategic reporting and the ERP project goals to determine your core topics.
- As-is analysis: time to take a closer look at the current ERP set-up. What has already been automated? What should be built on top? The priority should be to keep/improve current and critical processes. New (nice to have) functionalities can typically wait until a later phase.
- Summarize and prioritize: everyone will have different priorities for your ERP project, based on their own job description. Listen to these expectations and match them to the business objectives. From there, create a list of priorities and communicate these to everyone involved as well.
- Match solutions to challenges: once you have your ERP priorities straight, it’s time to start thinking about solutions. Keep it simple here: don’t build complex solutions to simple problems. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan though: you’ll need to assess each challenge individually.
- Change management: even when you communicate the priorities of your ERP project clearly to everyone involved, there will always be people that are disappointed. You will need to find a way to manage these feelings to avoid building resentment and frustration.
Favor the phased approach
There are two camps in the ERP world: those who prefer a big bang and tackle the entire ERP project in one go, and those who favour a phased approach. In our experience, the latter offers more benefits:
Start from your minimal viable scope: what are the key processes you really need from day one? From there, work in phases – and budget them separately. That makes it easier to calculate cost, timing and workload. It’s easier to build out your ERP if you have the right foundation.
Always be weary for scope creep: additional features that weren’t included in the initial plan or budget. That’s why you should always be able to refer back to a clearly defined roadmap, based on your business objectives and key processes.
Typically, people believe a phased approach will cost more. However, we believe a phased approach means you spend budget more intentionally. Tackling everything at once means a lot of unnecessary - yet expensive - functionalities, more risk at go-live and factoring in the hidden cost of staying in your old system for longer. It also requires more reworks in the aftermath, because circumstances change and your ERP system wasn’t built for that kind of flexibility.
Monolithic ERP projects are bulky – there’s a good chance what you’ve set out to accomplish will be outdated by the time you’re done. You need flexibility, both in your ERP project approach and your ERP architecture. Adding or removing elements should be relatively easy, so you can stay competitive with your business. Like life, your business moves through different stages: make sure your ERP system can cope with that reality.
May we have this dance?
Cegeka and Microsoft Dynamics 365: the best ERP partners you could ask for! Get in touch and let’s choreograph your ERP track together.
Two to Tango: there’s no I in ERP
To successfully start and finish an ERP project, it takes Two to Tango. Join us and our customers as we zoom in on all things ERP – from the perspective of true partnership. Featured in this first season: the full choreography of setting up your ERP strategy.