How to survive the implementation of an ERP?

If you have come this far it is because you are in the dilemma between changing ERP or implementing an ERP or prolonging your current situation over time. After our experience in more than 455 implementations of the ERP Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly known as Dynamics NAV and Navision), we have gathered for you 10 tips to achieve a successful ERP implementation and thus survive the implementation of a system of business management.

#1 Do not be afraid of change

Proposing a tool change produces panic. It is true. No change or implementation is simple. But well planned can be an exciting and rewarding process. If your ERP has become obsolete and blocks your growth or if your current accounting system is overwhelmed by your new requirements, the time has come to consider a change of business management tool.

Take this opportunity to review your business circuits and seek their optimization, supported by the most modern management tools in the market. If your attitude is positive and proactive, you are willing to listen and to contribute, even if there are difficult moments, the project has everything won.

If, on the contrary, you resist the change, it is very difficult for you to achieve your long-term business objectives.

#2 Long-term vision

When choosing an ERP you must adopt a vision of the future. Consider not only if the chosen product meets your current requirements, but if it will be able to satisfy future ones as well. This implies asking, among others:

  • Is the product roadmap public and fits with your vision of the future?
  • Is it compliance with the GDPR and the other cybersecurity standards? With what guarantees?
  • Do it have the capacity to integrate with your ecosystem of present and future applications? Both at the level of office tools and third-party applications that you use in your day-to-day life.
  • Do it bet clearly for the benefits of Artificial Intelligence? Or is it an ERP with the logic of the last century?

#3 Weave good alliances

In the same way that you perform a thorough analysis on what is the best tool for your business, you must also devote energy in finding the right partner. To find the answer to this question, consider concepts such as:

  • Are we a good fit for the chosen partner? Why?
  • Are we comfortable with their work methodology?
  • What is the added value that can they can bring us?
  • Are they committed to the success of the project and our success?

#4 Do not swim against the current

Remember which is the core of your business and check if the logic of the application respects and improves these processes in its standard version. We recommend that you do not try to go against the logic of the ERP if it does not fit with your circuits.

If the tool is not aligned with the base of your operation, consider it and consider other products on the market. Our advice is that you opt for the ERP that most respects the core of your business.

#5 Maintain an AGILE approach

An ERP is a complex tool. So complex that sometimes it is very difficult to determine in advance all the requirements for its implementation. For this reason it is vital that you are open to review frequently the initial approach of the project to correct it if necessary.

An AGILE methodology will allow you to periodically get small partial go-lives, thus achieving small milestones of the project. Flee the traditional implementation methodology that aims to perform a macro go-live of all areas of the company simultaneously. The risk of deviation in time and budget multiplies exponentially, reducing the margin of flexibility in the face of changes.

#6 Involve the end user

During the implementation project, not only do you have to focus on convincing the executive roles, but it is crucial that you involve the end users. Both in the decision-making process and, subsequently, in the project.

Involve the end users of each department (finance, IT, purchasing, marketing, etc.). You will reduce their resistance to change and, therefore, the adaptation to the new tool will be more fluid, agile and positive.

#7 Value the dedication

Your team is the one who best knows the needs and processes of the management of your company. For this reason, its involvement is part of the success of an implementation. Before starting you must define what resources you will dedicate to this project, in order to free them from certain of their daily tasks. You want them to be 100% focused on this project.

Do not skimp on thinking that you double costs. Remember that healthy growth is supported by good foundations.

#8 Work collaboratively

Treating each department in isolation during the implementation of the project is a common mistake. Currently, each team may use its own tool and sharing processes is not a usual practice in your company.

Why do not you take advantage of this project to draw a unified vision of the business? Only then can you ensure the overall success of the implementation.

#9 Timing for the go-live

Deciding the best go-live timing is essential to ensure the success of the project. Plan the affectation that this stage can have in each department and avoid that it coincides with moments of maximum workload. Thus, the transition will be as fluid as possible.

Although it is difficult, try to avoid that the urgency to start working with the new ERP condition the start date.

#10 And remember … Everything will improve

If you want the project to be a success, our best advice is to work intensely to lay the foundations that will allow you to achieve your business objectives and scale up with the ERP in the future. In addition, it is crucial that you maintain a positive and open attitude throughout the project.

In spite of everything, we are moments that there will be moments of nerves. So in moments of crisis: breathe deeply and remember, everything will improve.

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