Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is complex, and organizations should carefully consider the pros and cons of DIY implementation. While it may offer cost savings and control, it lacks specialized knowledge and support. Working with an experienced Microsoft solution provider brings expertise, efficiency, change management support, and more.
Understanding the ERP Implementation Process
Implementing a new ERP system enables organizations to optimize processes, improve data accuracy, deliver better customer experiences, and more. It provides a strong foundation for organizations to thrive, but it involves multiple stages that require significant planning, precise execution, and continuous monitoring.
ERP implementation steps are as follows:
- Planning: This stage involves defining the project scope, objectives, and timelines. It also includes assessing the organization’s current processes and identifying areas that need improvement.
- System design and configuration: This stage involves configuring the ERP software, mapping existing business processes, and customizing the system to align with the organization’s needs.
- Testing and training: Here, the ERP system is thoroughly tested to identify and resolve any issues or bugs. Training programs are conducted to familiarize the employees with the new system and its functionalities.
- Deployment: Once the ERP system is launched, continuous evaluation and ongoing maintenance occur to address any post-implementation issues and identify areas for further optimization.
Despite the considerable time, resource, and knowledge requirements involved in ERP implementation, clients are becoming increasingly interested in self-resourcing and self-managing their upgrade projects.
They aim to minimize their dependence on ERP partners and instead utilize internal resources, independent contractors such as project managers and consultants, and offshore development agents.
But is this a good idea? Should you DIY your ERP implementation?
Pros and Cons of DIY ERP Implementation
Implementing an ERP system internally can be cost-effective compared to hiring external vendors and gives organizations complete control over the implementation process. They can customize the system according to their specific needs and make changes as required without relying on external parties.
On the other hand, and to reiterate, implementing an ERP system is a complex task that requires specialized knowledge and skills. Without the expertise of a trusted professional services provider, organizations may face challenges in properly configuring the system, integrating data, and optimizing processes, leading to inefficiencies or errors.
DIY implementation also demands significant time and resources from internal teams, while still introducing a higher risk of data mapping issues or system configuration mistakes.
External solution providers offer comprehensive support and training during implementation. With a DIY approach, organizations may struggle to provide the same level of support and training to their employees, which could impact the system’s adoption and utilization.
What to Consider When Implementing an ERP System In-House
ERP implementation projects are complex events within the life of an organization that can be at best disruptive and at worst destructive. When considering internal project management, it is crucial to carefully assess the following:
- Establishing a formal project structure with an experienced project manager dedicated to the ERP implementation.
- Evaluating the success rate of previous internally managed ERP projects.
- Assessing the project’s resource requirements and the availability of suitable capacity and skills.
- Considering options for accessing technical product expertise, such as subcontracting or temporary hiring.
- Evaluating the cost and benefits of higher-level support services directly from Microsoft (for Finance & Supply Chain only).
- Exploring the potential of offshore resourcing to reduce specific technical costs, but accounting for increased project management time and quality assurance activities like testing.
It’s important for organizations to carefully evaluate their capabilities, resources, and expertise before opting for a DIY ERP implementation. Engaging an external professional services provider can mitigate risks and ensure a smoother implementation process.
The Importance of Working With a Trusted Partner
If you’re just starting to plan for a new Microsoft ERP—and especially if you obtained your software through a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) agreement—it’s critical to understand that having a Partner of Record associated with your customer record is a requirement.
This partner serves as a communication channel between Microsoft and your organization and can bring several other important benefits, including:
- Expertise: Partners have a thorough understanding of industry best practices and can provide valuable insights on how to optimize processes, streamline workflows, and align the ERP system with your specific business requirements.
- Efficient implementation: Their refined methodologies, tools, and frameworks to streamline the implementation process enable partners to anticipate and address challenges effectively, reducing the likelihood of delays or costly mistakes.
- Change management and training: ERP implementation often involves significant organizational change. Partners can help employees navigate the new system and processes by providing change management strategies, training programs, and ongoing support.
- Post-implementation support: After the ERP system goes live, a partner’s ongoing support, including maintenance, troubleshooting, and system enhancements, is essential.
- Relationships with ERP software providers: Partners can leverage relationships with ERP software providers to negotiate favorable terms, pricing, and support agreements on behalf of your organization.
Partners bring value due to their extensive experience with ERP projects, including Dynamics 365. They have advanced Microsoft support for your application, granting them access to resources not typically available to end-users.
Even if you plan to handle most of the implementation independently, it is beneficial to collaborate with your partner to identify areas where they can provide significant value. You may consider engaging them for assistance and support, even if you don’t delegate the entire project management and resourcing to them.
It’s important to remember that implementing complex ERP solutions is their specialization, while your expertise lies in your business. Collaborating with a partner increases the likelihood of success by combining your strengths.
Find a Partner for Successful ERP Implementation
Overall, working with an experienced ERP implementation partner provides access to specialized expertise, accelerates implementation timelines, ensures tailored solutions, manages change effectively, offers ongoing support, and facilitates vendor relationships.
This collaborative approach enhances the chances of a successful ERP implementation that aligns with your business objectives and drives long-term success.
If you’re ready to modernize your ERP system, partner with Sikich and combine our expertise with your organization’s business knowledge. Contact our team today to get started.