Manage your Data Before ERP Software Installation

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Some companies are lucky enough to start an ERP Software implementation from scratch, but most of us have data overload and need to manage the information before installing the software.  Making the decision to invest in ERP software is the easy step.  Working with your vendor to install the software and transfer your existing data is a little trickier, and more time consuming, than most companies realize.

If you’ve done your homework properly, you’ve chosen an ERP software vendor that will work with you on the ERP implementation process from start to finish.  You did know this was a long process right?  Now you are in the driver’s seat.  The vendor can supply you with the software, but you need to tell the vendor what you want the software to do.  You are responsible for determining the requirements for the software, the data you want to capture and the reports that you want it to generate so you can make informed business decisions.  Ask yourself - what do you want out of your software, what do you want it to accomplish, what data is important, and what reports do you want it to create?  Your vendor can guide you through this process, but ultimately these answers come from you.

Your vendor can’t tell you what data is important to capture in your business any more than you can tell your vendor how to write software code.  Take your time in determining what data you want to collect and give yourself a deadline to complete this process.  This is not an ongoing process.  Every time you add or change data and reporting requirements, the vendor has to rework the software.  With each change in scope of work, you’ll incur delays and a higher cost for implementation.

Once you know what you want your ERP software to do for you, work with your vendor to determine how to get your data from your existing systems into your new ERP system.  Some data can be entered automatically – from software to software.  Some data may require manual entry.  Either way, there is a risk for error.  Yes, software makes mistakes too.  There are case studies where software that was uploaded or transferred automatically was misrouted or characterized wrong.  Most vendors will suggest a beta test to determine whether automatic or manually entered data was collected properly and whether reporting features are working properly.  Data entry into the ERP system is a critical step in this process and should never be rushed.  Bad data in, is bad data out, which could lead to errors in your business operations from payroll to inventory to invoicing.  Make sure the data is good, make sure the system is working, THEN leave the beta phase to full implementation and use.

The most important step in the successful implementation of ERP software is knowing exactly what data you need to capture and how you want to report that data.  Your vendor can supply the tools, but you supply the plans.  Save yourself a lot of headaches and take your time when implementing ERP software solutions.  Know exactly what you want to accomplish and work with your vendor to accomplish it.  Without proper planning, you’ll just be wasting time and money and end up with useless ERP software.

By Jullie Fuller with Cargas Systems,  Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner


With over 400 successful implementations and a 95% customer retention rate, Cargas is one of the largest Microsoft Dynamics partners in Pennsylvania.


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