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Mark Goodson, BCG Systems, Inc.

Five Characteristics of a Successful Accounting Software Implementation


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Implementing a new technology initiative is never easy.  Not only does it take a lot of planning and decision-making, but also cooperation from many parties.  At BCG Systems, we unfortunately frequently hear the tales of failed ERP implementations and their cost – often hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars down the drain.

When done right, ERP implementations can add immense value and efficiencies to a business.  The right implementation partner can get you up and running smoothly, help you realize the benefits of your ERP system quickly, and ensure that your unique business realities are addressed.  If you’re considering implementing a new accounting or enterprise resource management system, or maybe just in need of an upgrade, we invite you to review these five characteristics of a successful accounting software implementation.  Having clear and realistic expectations before entering into the process can ensure you get the expected returns from your investment.

1.       Begin with a thorough review of your business requirements and processes.  A business assessment includes an analysis of mission-critical areas of your business to determine if your current systems are optimized to support your changing needs.  Dedicated consultants should begin the analysis by meeting with your executive team to understand overall organizational visions, goals and views of existing IT.  Then, meeting with select staff should occur to discuss and observe the issues that impact their ability to be successful, as well as determine the gaps that limit your organization’s ability to achieve its goals and visions.  Based on this review, and along with your identified pain points and system weaknesses, a dedicated partner can then analyze your existing ERP setup and configuration, prioritize issues, and provide specific recommendations for improvement.  From there, it’s just a matter of determining how to optimize ongoing licensing and renewals, and plan ideas for efficiency improvement.

2.       Design, develop, and build.  What will the new enterprise-wide system look like and how will it be used in the organization?  In the ERP Design phase, the project team and implementation team will be working out the various configurations for the new system, defining roles, and documenting standard procedures.  The purpose of the development phase is to prepare the entire system for going live. This includes activities such as completing any necessary customizations, developing user trainings, and importing data.

3.       Training staff.  Critical to the success of any new technology project is thorough and ongoing end-user training.  During the training phase of implementation, however, it’s important to keep in mind that users will process information differently.  This means that training should be delivered through a variety of avenues – on-site, virtually, written materials, as well as visuals – to accommodate various learning styles.  In addition to training end users on how to use the system itself, it’s also important to provide users with a clear understanding of why the change is occurring and necessary to the success of the organization. 

4.       Go-live.  The project team and implementation team will assess the situation and make the final go or no-go decision.  Prior to going live, the final data will be loaded and validated.  The project team will train other employees who will then start working in the new system, and cease use of the old one.

5.       Ongoing support.  Once the ERP system has gone live, the purpose of the project team will shift. Over time, as the way the users work within the system evolves, adjustments and changes to the system configuration may be needed.  At BCG Systems, our support team includes experienced, senior-level dynamics consultants — not entry-level technicians — who are available via phone, e-mail, or onsite to address your issues and concerns. The entire team is privy to your business requirements, allowing us to work quickly and efficiently to address software issues and minimize downtime.

Though this is an iterative process, there will be a tendency for phases to overlap, and for movement back and forth between phases.

In today’s business environment, technology is the engine that drives corporate productivity.  However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to ERP/accounting software implementation; every business is unique.  If you don’t undertake a full analysis of your needs and processes, the implementation of your ‘right solution’ may be just a shot in the dark.

Software becomes a solution only when it’s combined with the proper business strategy, implementation plan and consulting.  Want to learn more about how you can start to put a plan in motion for a technology upgrade or implementation?  Contact our team of dedicated consultants, who are knowledgeable about your industry and prepared to help.

by BCG Systems, Inc

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