Take an Outcome-First Approach to ERP Implementation

When it comes to selecting and implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, many companies often focus solely on the features and functionalities offered by different ERP systems. While these aspects are important, taking an outcome-first approach can significantly increase your chances of ERP implementation success.

What Is an Outcome-First Approach for ERP Implementation?

The traditional approach to ERP implementation involves selecting a system based on its technical capabilities and then attempting to fit business processes around it. However, this can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

That’s where an outcome-first approach comes in, shifting the focus from the technical aspects of an ERP system to the desired outcomes for the business.

By prioritizing outcomes, businesses can avoid the trap of choosing an ERP system based solely on its features. Instead, they can identify and define the specific outcomes they want to achieve, such as improved operational efficiency, enhanced data visibility, or better decision-making.

This approach encourages businesses to think strategically and holistically about their workflows. It prompts them to analyze their existing challenges, pain points, and bottlenecks and then design optimized processes that align with their desired outcomes.

Most importantly, it ensures that the ERP system serves as a catalyst for positive change and improvement within the organization.

What Are the Benefits of an Outcome-First Approach?

By focusing on desired outcomes rather than just features and functionalities, you can drive meaningful results. You can achieve higher levels of operational efficiency, streamline processes, and allocate resources more effectively.

This approach empowers companies like yours to make better-informed decisions, as you can leverage real-time data and insights provided by the ERP system to drive strategic planning and growth.

An outcome-first approach also encourages increased collaboration and communication within the organization. By aligning workflows with desired outcomes, departments can break down silos and work together toward common goals. This promotes a culture of transparency, shared responsibility, and continuous improvement.

In essence, an outcome-first approach transforms an ERP implementation from a merely technical project into a strategic initiative that aligns with the broader goals of the business. It ensures that technology serves as an enabler rather than a constraint.

Examples of Outcomes You Can Plan Around When Choosing an ERP

Here are some examples of outcomes that you can plan around when selecting an ERP.

Enhanced Productivity

An effective ERP system streamlines and automates business processes, eliminating manual tasks and reducing the chances of errors. Your organization will increase throughput using the same number of resources.

Further, by providing a centralized platform for managing and accessing data, an ERP enables employees to work more efficiently, collaborate seamlessly and make informed decisions. This enhanced productivity leads to improved overall operational efficiency.

Increased Revenue

Gain better visibility into your business operations, including sales, inventory, and customer data. This visibility allows you to identify sales trends, analyze customer behavior, and optimize pricing strategies.

By leveraging these insights, you can make informed decisions, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase revenue.

Lower Costs

ERP systems provide tools for effective resource planning, inventory management, and supply chain optimization. By automating processes and improving inventory accuracy, you can minimize carrying costs, reduce excess inventory, and eliminate waste.

Additionally, ERP can help optimize procurement, identify cost-saving opportunities, and streamline financial management, resulting in significant cost reductions.

Better Asset Management

Improved asset management affects revenue, customer satisfaction, supply chain processes, production, and costs.

An ERP system provides real-time visibility into your organization’s assets, including equipment, machinery, and facilities. By effectively tracking and managing assets, you can optimize maintenance schedules, reduce downtime, and extend the lifespan of critical equipment.

This proactive approach to asset management helps improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and streamline business operations.

Reduction in Business Risks

ERP systems allow organizations to get real-time information faster and with greater accuracy. This leads to improved decision-making and better forecasting, helping mitigate business risks.

ERP systems also offer robust security features, including access controls, data encryption, and audit trails. They also provide tools for compliance management, enabling businesses to meet industry regulations and mitigate legal and financial risk.

An ERP, overall, minimizes the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.

How to Identify and Define Your Desired Outcomes

Choosing an ERP solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management that aligns with your business goals is crucial for achieving your desired outcomes. To identify and define these outcomes, consider the following steps:

Assess your current situation

Identify and prioritize the outcomes that are most critical to your organization’s success. Think about how you can apply technology to enhance your customer engagement, optimize your operations, re-imagine your products and services, and empower your people. Determine which outcomes will most significantly affect your operations, customer satisfaction, and overall performance.

Take inventory of your challenges

Start by evaluating your existing business processes and systems. Identify the pain points, bottlenecks, and areas that need improvement. This assessment will help you understand the challenges you aim to address through ERP implementation.

Set clear goals

Define specific goals that you want to achieve with your ERP system. These goals should align with your overall business objectives. For example, your goals could be to streamline operations, improve data accuracy, enhance customer service, or enable better decision-making.

Involve key stakeholders

Engage key stakeholders from different departments within your organization. These stakeholders can provide valuable insights into the specific outcomes they expect from the ERP system. Collaborate with them to gather input and align everyone’s expectations.

Define metrics for success

Establish measurable criteria to track and evaluate the achievement of your desired outcomes. For each outcome, define key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you assess progress and determine whether you have met your goals.

Consult with ERP experts

Seek guidance from experienced ERP consultants like those at Sikich who have success implementing ERP systems. They can provide valuable advice based on their knowledge of industry trends and best practices. Their expertise can help you identify outcomes relevant to your business.

Continuously review and refine

Keep in mind that defining your desired outcomes is not “one and done.” As your business evolves, your goals and priorities may change. Continuously review and refine your desired outcomes to ensure they remain aligned with your business needs and objectives.

By taking the time to identify and define your desired outcomes before ERP implementation, you can ensure that your investment in the system yields the desired results and delivers significant value to your organization.

The Benefits of an Outcome-First Approach

Implementing an outcome-first approach requires careful planning, clear communication and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. It involves aligning your processes, technologies, and people with the desired outcomes to ensure everyone is working toward the same objectives.

Unlock the full potential of your organization, drive innovation, and continuously improve performance. The result: Adapt to changing market conditions, seize new opportunities, and stay ahead of the competition.

But remember, outcomes are not achieved overnight. That requires dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By consistently prioritizing outcomes and aligning your efforts toward them, you can create a culture of success and achieve sustainable growth.

Achieve Your Desired Outcomes with Sikich

Ready to transform your business? From initial planning to customization, training, and support, Sikich provides end-to-end solutions tailored to your organization’s unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our ERP services and how we can help you achieve your business goals.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

About the Author