Altus Dynamics Blog

9 Tips for the Selection and Implementation of an ERP System

Posted by Davis Campbell on Sep 1, 2015 9:00:00 AM


CIO Magazine spoke to experts in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and change management who shared their tips on how to choose and deploy an ERP system that will maximize both your monetary and time investment. With the large expenses – resources, licensing dollars (SLA), maintenance, and time – associated with deploying an ERP system, it is key that organizations develop viable short and long-term plans to minimize expenses. The following nine tips will give you a better idea of how to choose an effective ERP solution and deploy it successfully.

1. Get upper management support

  • Companies that tend to have the most issues with ERP are ones that lack upper management involvement
  • Resources at the lower level tend to less dedicated and engaged with the implementation of the project without senior level involvement
  • Executives don’t need to know every single configuration detail, but they need to be aware of the issues that are causing delays to the project

2. Make a clear and extensive list of requirements before you start looking at vendors

  • Define the scope of the project
  • Provide correct and specific requirements regarding business processes and the system itself
  • Find a system that is industry-specific, with tools and features designed to solve your business requirements; the associated ROI and long-term benefits of a good fitting system are extensive
3. Don’t forget mobile users
  • Choose an ERP system that allows users to be productive on smartphones and tablets while also maintaining the security of information

4. Carefully evaluate your options before selecting your ERP system

  • Poorly run and ill-defined evaluation projects can lead to poor implementations
  • Lack of participation and input from key stakeholders in the evaluation stage can lead to poor acceptance and user adoption
  • Consider specific reporting data and metrics you would like to gauge from the system during the selection phase
  • Don’t forget about integration; an ERP solution that does not work with your existing office systems is not a solution, but another expensive piece of unused or unusable software
  • Find a vendor that specializes in your industry

5. Get references            

  • When shopping for an ERP solution provider, ask the vendor for at least three references before making a decision

6. Think before you customize

  • Highly customized systems will generate higher costs, not only in the initial deployment but when upgrading from release to release
  • Businesses with unique requirements need to consider whether those requirements can be mainstreamed to eliminate the steep cost curve
  • Since many companies’ basic business processes are virtually the same, firms can take advantage of standard systems that are leading class and have been tested by many other companies
  • If a particular business function believes they have a case for customization, make sure they prove it so the additional costs do not go to waste

7. Factor in change management

  • Typically, ERP projects facilitate massive change in organizations
  • These changes impact company culture and without careful control and communication planning, organizations can create an adverse reaction to ERP resulting in barriers to implementation and adoption

8. Appoint an internal ERP product champion – and surround him or her with good people

  • Do not rely on the vendor-appointed project manager only; have someone from your organization in this role
  • Put your best people on the job; not just IT people, but your best people period.

9. Provide the necessary time and resources for training on the ERP system

  • Learning a new way of operating requires a significant time commitment from staff, so the project team must take proactive measures to reduce the burden on employees
  • Recognize that the most effective training may not come from outside resources e.g. tech-savvy employees within departments can be given the opportunity for more in-depth instruction to become expert resources for their fellow employees

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This Post Was Written By Davis Campbell
Davis Campbell is our awesome marketing intern from Wilfrid Laurier University.