This series of articles has been focused on the selection and implementation of a new ERP system. This final article is a discussion on how to leverage this investment to achieve the maximum benefit possible for your organization. Once the system is in place and transactions are processing accurately it is important to circle back and be sure the reasons you migrated to this new system are transparent and upheld.
- Once the ERP system has been implemented, it is important to measure the success of the goals the organization set in the beginning stages. Reflecting on the original justification and modifications made throughout the process, it should be fairly simple to provide the leadership with achievements and ROI calculations. This system was approved based on key performance guarantees that should be validated and communicated.
- The new ERP system should provide significantly more data than the organization has had access to in the past. Developing a platform to allow for business intelligence and analytics tools to fully harness the value of new data is critical.
- It’s fairly common to postpone updating other tools that support to organization during an ERP implementation. Following the transition, take Inventory of the lost functions and work to rebuild those that will make a difference within the architecture of the new system.
- Measure the Value and Benefits: This process started with a list of requirements and goal, which helped the organization select a strong solution provider. Following the system go-live, it is important to measure the value and benefits received base on the original RFQ and justification that was approved by top management and the board. Identifying and highlighting the ROI for the new system will build confidence in IT and could aid in funding for future projects. Measuring the project success could likely take 1-2 years, so make sure leadership is fully aware of the time needed to recognize the benefits.
- Integrate BI and BA tools: One of the many benefits of upgrading or replacing an ERP system is the amount of new data that can be captured. Whether you are utilizing an existing data mining tool or new tools that came with the ERP, it is critical to be strategic with the data. BI and analytics tools will enhance the value of the system and help create a data-driven environment and empowered decision-making.
- Review and Revise/Replace: Replacing an ERP system may result in legacy tools displacement. Many of these tools will no longer be needed, as modern ERP systems will provide much of their functionality. It is important to review the needs of users that are still dependent on these legacy platforms, so you can determine whether it’s best to review or replace the tool in your current environment. The review process may also uncover great insights and give you a chance to see how the organization is assimilating to the new system.
- Plan for Future ERP Upgrades: The project team also needs to review all modifications that were made during the project to ensure that no barriers have been created to stop the company from doing future upgrades to the new system. Some modifications may be required and expected; the key is to document all items that may need special attention during any code uplift.
- Don’t Forget about Legacy Data: Data retention laws should be reviewed to understand how long legacy data should be held after an ERP transition. Whether by law or by company practice, the decision needs to be made on how to store data that is not migrated to the new ERP system. Projects teams can either keep legacy systems with restricted access, move data to cloud, or migrate all data to the new system. The key is knowing how to access the information, who should have access to the data, and what data should be allowed to specific employees. If possible, setting up a master data management team, governed by IT, would be beneficial.
- Don’t Forget Trading Partners: Many of your customers and vendors may have been involved in the ERP project. The new system can and will bring opportunities to simplify transaction processing between the business and their trading partners. If this was not deemed a transition exercise, don’t forget to address these opportunities within the next several months following the go-live. Keep your customers top of mind during all phases of these projects and ensure customer success during and after the internal systems are stable.
- Don’t Forget to Monitor Performance: Project teams monitor performance during testing, prototyping, and piloting. Many times, teams will also perform stress tests prior to go-live to ensure performance is acceptable. Don’t forget to review performance every quarter for the first couple of years post go-live. Frequently, the addition of data will lead to slowdowns due to indexing or inefficient coded functions. As transaction data is moved into many new systems, these shortfalls may surface, because during testing lack of data volume may not have uncovered the issue. Proactively monitoring performance will reduce user dissatisfaction significantly.
- Don’t Apologize for Technology Uplift: The organization will have growing pains with any new ERP implementation. Don’t apologize for moving the company forward with a technology and functionality that will holistically benefit the organization moving forward. There may be lots of noise and complaints from the business, because of process change, but helping them understand that no change could have detrimental impact on the organization may help mellow the complaints. Pay attention and ensure the new system is working accurately and effectively, never apologizing for the work that was done.
ERP projects carry with them a significant amount of risk. It is important for the business to see realize the benefits of the new system, and it’s IT’s responsibility to track this. Remember to keep positive and show every bit of incremental value throughout the organization. Data is a new currency in this evolving world – remind your organization that with this change comes opportunity.
This series was written to provide some tips and techniques intended to minimize risk and offer suggestions on staying ahead of the process. Please contact MIDMRKT If you want a more personal assessment of your ERP plans.