Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part blog series on controlling your enterprise resource planning implementation.
You have more control than you think when it comes to the implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. As an example, one of our clients fast-tracked their implementation process and went live two months early simply by reading the system user guide and being well-prepared prior to the kick-off meeting.
The kick-off meeting is the perfect time for both the client and implementation team to align by discussing expectations, goals and concerns. The dedication our client had to thoroughly prepare prior to the initial meeting is just one example of how you can take control of the implementation process. Start your ERP implementation off on the right foot with these five tips:
- Do Your Homework: As soon as you make your decision to implement new ERP software, even prior to the kick-off meeting, start gathering knowledge—review the user guides and other documentation and view suggested online courses for the modules that will be implemented in your system. Going into the initial project meetings and scoping sessions with some knowledge and even specific questions, will make the discussions and planning sessions more productive. If you want to earn extra credit, watch YouTube videos in areas in which you have particular interests. Just be sure to use the general videos you find online as a way to familiarize yourself and get ideas, rather than as a sole source of training.
- Take Ownership: This is your system―you’ll be the one working in it on a daily basis. Realize this is an investment to maximize the software once it goes live. Be accountable for the configuration and understand how it is set up and how it works so it can be a satisfying system.
- Identify a Single Project Lead: Designate an employee who will be the single project lead during the implementation and go-live. Your project lead should have the authority to keep others on track and make critical business decisions or ensure those who are making the decisions are doing so in a timely manner. In essence, this person should be able to crack the whip to keep the implementation moving forward.
- Form Internal User Group Meetings: Set aside time to get immediate feedback during the implementation process by forming an internal user group that meets once a week or so, depending on the time table of the implementation. These meetings are a time where your team can present and discuss issues or ideas with each other that may spark policy or procedure changes and help you determine the best configuration for your specific use of the software. The outcome of these discussions could change the direction of the project. It’s easier to discover an issue and address it when discussed at an earlier point in the implementation rather than after the system is live. Additionally, use these meetings as a time to engage all users, allowing their voice to be heard through input and feedback. We find that users are happier with a system if they are involved in the planning and development of the procedures for the new system.
- Participate in the Project Task List: A task list is a great way to stay on top of the implementation progress and be engaged in the process. Your implementation team should have a task list created for the overall project. Consider using SharePoint or a similar platform where both teams can log in and view the task list to see what is outstanding, what is coming up, to whom the tasks are assigned, etc. If you prefer to keep your own task list for more detailed internal assignments related to the project, be sure to share status updates with the implementation team.
Stay tuned for our next blog where we will discuss how you can avoid common setbacks during your ERP implementation.
Read More: By now you know the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics GP, and with the new release of Dynamics GP 2015 there’s even more to anticipate. Learn more in our blog post, 4 Game-Changing Features of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015.
This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, or other professional advice. Please refer to your advisors for specific advice.