Steps to Avoid ERP System Failure

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Pratibha Devasenapathy | Sep-04-2020

Introduction

Digital adoption for businesses processes have seen a massive increase in the recent times. Every business owner aims at automating his business in the best possible way by implementing techniques to smoothen organisational functions, seamlessly. However, one major reason why a few business owners are hesitant to completely digitise their business, is the failure of systems. That is why it is the responsibility of ERP software companies and their ecosystem of partners to educate and encourage nervous customers about the value of ERP, which means talking honestly and upfront about what can go wrong. There are many ways you can prepare people for success and avoid failure, from the early discovery and education phase, right through to the go live.

Here's how you can avoid ERP system failure in your business and make the most of digital adoption:

Steps to avoid ERP failure

Get all relevant stakeholders on board

When a crucial business decision to change a process in the organisation is taken, it is imperative that you get a buy-in across the organisation. You need to convince all major stakeholders that they should help you get things up and running. This can be a frustrating process if you’re a) working with “old-timers” who know and love the current system, b) taking away someone’s authority or perceived autonomy, or c) not really helping people. The best way to deal with these situations is to assess the system change well yourself and only if you find it beneficial/profitable in the long run, should you take it forward to others. You must explain the benefits, the organisation and respective users will reap clearly to get everyone on board. If you have a clear business case for your new ERP and you still get pushback, you’ll just have to involve management at a new level. Buy-in is best when it’s voluntary, but some people just have to be told to do their job.

Selecting the right product

There are more choices in ERP than ever before; from on-premise systems to cloud-based software as a service, to industry-specific solutions. Add to that a growing portfolio of limited scope packages, e.g., Finance Only or Finance & Procurement, which can be implemented in a fixed time and for a fixed price. Not everyone wants cloud, but it is undoubtedly a game changer and businesses of all sizes and turnovers can get involved, now that there is a solution built with them in mind.  With so many choices, making the right decision could be a huge concern. The best way to solve this hurdle would be to have a set of defined needs with a checklist of your core requirements and matching to the options available in the market.

Optimum training for employees

Once you have chosen the software and convinced everyone to come on board, it’s time to get the ball rolling. This can be easily achieved with a proper training and establishing each stakeholder’s role in implementing various aspects to increase business efficiency through the chosen ERP. As part of your technical planning, you’ll undergo some data cleaning on your current system. That means starting with a fresh set of data with your new ERP. If you don’t give people adequate training, they’ll fall right back into old habits, making a mockery of the clean data.

The importance of aftercare

One of the most common pain points isn’t the implementation, but the time when the company is left to run things on their own. With so much effort put into the initial implementation project itself, the potential for problems afterwards can be overlooked. Teams find out exactly how well-trained they are when the time comes to use the system. You’d be surprised at how much knowledge seems to fly out of people’s heads when they are left alone. The best software solution providers offer a good package of support and aftercare including a certain amount of hand-holding as standard. The best vendors offer ongoing support packages that support customers throughout the journey. It is worth making sure that budgets have been set aside to include something for aftercare as it’s not something anyone wants to be without.

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