Typically after a decision is made to implement a new ERP or Financial Software System, it's time to start the implementation process. The first step is the implementation kick-off meeting. Here you will determine what features will be implemented in your implementation project, goals for the project and strategies for success. You will also define the implementation team both on your end, as well as the partner or vendor. You will also work together to create the implementation timeline, creating a calendar that works back from your Go Live date.
One of the most important steps in your implementation is workflow design. This is where you and your partner determine how your company will implement and use the system. Workflow design may take place over the course of several strategy meetings and your partner will help you document your workflows for training purposes. Many sophisticated ERP systems offer a multitude of options for implementing various tasks, thus the workflow design phase allows you to determine the most efficient processes that will produce the desired outcomes.
Setup typically involves consultants from the partner or vendor, as well as your team members. The project lead will organize who will be included in all areas of setup, and key functional users will provide feedback to the consultants on setup decisions.
Also, through this process, and probably the most critical piece of implementation, is workflow design, how is your organization going to use the software. With modern ERP systems, there are different ways to design workflows. You are not locked into workflows that are done because “that’s how the software is designed, and there is only one way to do it.” As an organization, you should document these workflows, and your ERP implementation team will use them for training.
If any customization or integrations are required, they should be implemented before you begin testing and training. These are areas that should be checked by multiple users to ensure they work as expected so that there are no surprises or errors once you go live.
Once the system is set up, and workflows have been designed, the partner or vendor should use those workflows to train individual users or groups of users on how to perform their jobs.
Most modern erp and accounting systems have detailed online step by step manuals, and many partners also provide additional documentation during the implementation. Some web-based systems allow you to document your workflows right in the software, and some even allow you to embed videos into the help documentation to provide "how to" feedback to users.
User Acceptance Testing
Once users have been trained, it’s essential to have a few weeks for users to work in the test environment. Running parallel is a thing of the past, but entering a few daily transactions in the new system to get users comfortable, helps work out any kinks or learning curves.
Your partner will help you get your data from your old system into your new. Standard imports include bringing in Chart of Accounts, Vendors, Customers, Assets, Inventory where used, Open Bills, Invoices, Cash Transactions, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, etc. In addition, we always bring in at least two years of general ledger monthly account balance history for comparative financial reporting.
The final step is to Go Live. For our customers, we typically request they finish entering data into the “old” system early on a Friday afternoon. Then the fun begins as we bring all of that data into the new system, intending to push the metaphorical button first thing Monday morning. The partner or vendor should make consultants readily available for you as users get comfortable using the new system. It's common for users to have additional questions as day to day operations are performed in the new system, but through training and user acceptance testing, we expect companies to feel a smooth transition at Go Live and an ERP implementation success.
Successful Implementations Start with Milestone
At Milestone Information Solutions, we’ve been in this business long enough to know how to help you make it through a Successful Implementation with as little brushback or attrition as possible. Get to know more about Working with Milestone or Contact us Today.