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Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group Inc.

How To Diagnose Needs Ahead of New ERP Selection and Implementation


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Choosing the right enterprise resource planning system is a crucial step when a business wants to upgrade its current platform or add this valuable software for the first time. There are so many different ERP solutions on the market that plenty of preselection work needs to be done before a system is chosen, much less before it begins to be changed and customized to meet the needs of an individual organization. A great ERP partner will help a business along in the selection and implementation process and provides valuable industry experience and guidance during and after the initial installation. However, there are important responsibilities as far as tracking internal needs and wants ahead of working with a vendor as well.

Here's a look at a few important processes and concepts that companies need to understand to get the most out of an ERP implementation:

Separate the needs and the wants
When it comes to ERP, some components are necessary to get the expected benefits and return on investment from the system, as well as to ensure operational continuity. Companies that want to add a new ERP platform have to to determine the needs that absolutely require a solution via new software, whether it's to maintain a current level of success or bring a lagging process up to industry standards. After these non-negotiable items are selected, companies can then determine their wants - the items that will help further improve business effectiveness but aren't currently required. Having a tiered list of needs will help a business and their vendor partner select the best system to use, as well as the most effective components inside that platform.

One wrinkle to consider in this ranking of needs and wants is future necessities. A business that has a solid plan in place for expansion may need a solution to manage remote facilities and production and more than one location, but won't need it in place for years to come. Paying special attention to this unique kind of need will help businesses and their ERP partners develop a system with an eye on the future.

Document current processes
The need for documentation of current methods of operation is an absolute must for a company adding a new ERP system. Documentation of the day-to-day functions of a business are needed to help a vendor select the best potential software solutions for a company. Additionally, having explicit records of business processes makes understanding requirements and blueprinting them during the selection and implementation phases far easier than it would be otherwise. This documentation is also very useful when it comes time for a business to measure the return on investment of a new ERP system. An understanding of how things worked before and after a platform is installed can make determining return on investment a relatively simple process.

Understand timelines
Advice website ERP Search pointed out the enormity of most ERP projects. They affect all areas of a business and therefore can't be implemented in a few hours or days. The work done before a system is actually installed can easily take months. Companies shouldn't rush through the process to realize a shorter timeline if it means sacrificing long-term quality and return on investment. Having organizational agreement on choosing quality over timeliness will help in the implementation process - especially in industries where tight deadlines and quick turnarounds are the norm.

by The TM Group

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