When people talk about an ERP system implementation, there are often stories about how long the process actually takes, how cost overruns "will" happen regardless of good budgeting efforts, and how there is never anything truly "off the shelf" no matter what salespeople say otherwise. And it is true, that many ERP projects can be costly and slow and absolutely confusing. One joke tends to be that some projects are so long you will see your grandchildren graduate from high school before the project is over.
However, the traditional result does not have to be the standard. You don't have to practically compromise your entire operations waiting for a system to get going and be functional. There are four ways to quickly
- Use implementation templates - if there are steps or procedure methods that do work extremely well from past projects or experience, they should be used. There's no reason to re-invent the wheel every time a new project starts. Find what works well and is suited to your organization type and go with that approach.
- Use a standardized process and project map for everyone involved - The minute your project begins to splinter into different modules with different plans, you're going to start running into problems. People involved need to be on the same map. Do not mistake this for the mistake of groupthink. Input and change for challenges is valuable, but everyone during implementation should be working with the same big picture and direction. When they do otherwise, you're going to end up with delays, more costs, and breakdown.
- Don't ignore best practices - If an approach is dubbed "a best practice," there's a reason for that. Both company and tech consultants should be aware of these proven methods and use them. Instead, project folks often ignore them outright and try to instill a brand new, unproven approach. No surprise, failure has a high probability then. Best practices should not just be sought out, they should be emulated in an ERP. They are already known to work, and they save tremendous time with familiarity to all involved.
- Make it easier for users to adapt to a new system with dashboards - Systems that have high learning curves once implemented often involves arcane coding and steps people have to memorize. Instead, a dashboard approach makes it easy for employees to find what they need in an ERP system, shortening the training time significantly. A standard dashboard also reduces customizing needs. Instead of tailoring, people tailor themselves to the new ERP.
ERP implementations often go slow because of people decisions, not the technology. However, the technology can be just as much of a problem if it is uselessly designed in a disjointed approach that ignores common sense. There is no reason to accept delays because someone says that's the standard. A faster implementation is quite possible when the roots of delay are dealt with directly.
Socius has applied our over 30 years of implementing Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions and created three fixed-fee, accelerated implementation packages for Microsoft Dynamics GP.