ERP System implementations are not typically high on a business owner or executive's bucket list, but through the life cycle of an organization they often become necessary. Knowing when an ERP implementation is necessary, and if the benefits outweigh the costs, can be the tricky part.
Why are you making the change?
It may be business growth, lack of functionality, lack of security, lack of integration, etc. This is a question we often ask business owners because implementing a new ERP system can be a painful process. Potential business disruption, there is a learning curve, new workflows may need to be implemented to be successful, and we want to make sure that the pain of not making a change out-weighs the pain of making a change. Thus, the first question we ask an owner or executive in charge of the ERP system implementation is: what keeps you up at night and will implementing a new ERP system help you get some rest?
What are your company's pains?
Define your companies’ pains. Sometimes this is a functionality that is not being met by the current system. Other times it is a lack of integration with other business systems or lack of meaningful reporting and analysis tools. Many times, decision makers find that the current system cannot support growth, additional locations, or warehouses, adding users, and lacks required functionality to do business. Today we see obsolete technology being costly to maintain and incapable of modernizing; acting as a driving factor for change.
What is unique about your business?
It is also important to look at what is unique about your business. Sometimes this is easy to define because there may be a certain way your industry does business. Other times, this is a harder thing to define, and it may not be until you speak with a consultant during a needs analysis that what makes you unique from an ERP perspective becomes clearer.
What does your current system do well?
Before going down the road of an ERP system implementation, you must look at the things that you love about your current system. Even if you are frustrated with how it is working, it is likely doing some things well. You never want to assume that a new system will have the same functionality, so making those things part of your critical requirements will ensure you are not losing any functionality when you change to a new system.
Define what will make this a successful ERP system implementation.
If we can check the boxes of all the critical requirements being met, that will be a success, but what else will this ERP system do to improve your business processes and give you more meaningful information? Maybe an integration with your shipping carrier will allow you to automatically email tracking numbers to customers, freeing up your salespeople to sell more products. It might be that you want dashboards to provide you with real-time information, so you are not running reports all the time.
To learn more, check out our other blogs ERP Implementation Process - The Steps to Success or Preparing for an ERP Software Implementation. For more information take a look at our ERP Implementation process.