Who Should Be Consulted before ERP Implementation?

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Managers of small and midsize businesses interested in ERP systems aren't making a decision for themselves - ERP software like Microsoft Dynamics GP provides benefits for all of the teams and departments that make up a company.

When exploring technology, there are many stakeholders managers should consult before making decisions. Speaking with IT professionals, company leaders, other employees and software partners not only makes business needs clearer, their input is also invaluable to successful implementation.

IT department
Before a manager begins shopping around for new technology solutions, an audit of the current ERP system or other software is needed.

The process of analyzing an existing software system varies from company to company. Some businesses don't have an IT department; some still use paper and pencil procedures. The staff members in charge of collecting and analyzing data from daily enterprise processes need to be consulted by decision-makers to determine how a company's current methods could be improved.

If a company's currently using a software solution, ITtoolbox recommended studying the activities of the existing system to determine performance goals for future software and to select a program that integrates with current technology. There may not be a need to throw out old tools completely. A company's IT team can determine what tasks perform optimally and where improvements are needed. IT employees should be in charge of ensuring the company has the hardware capabilities to support new solutions.

Business leaders
The heads of every department should be included in all company infrastructure decisions. ERP solutions may be brought in to perform just a few tasks, but they are capable of being expanded and improved processes in one department affect the business as a whole. If ERP software is implemented by warehouse teams to track inventory, the improved visibility of available products is beneficial to sales teams and customer service agents.

NetSuite said software implementation is successful when upper management from each department is supportive of specific ideas. Interest in software that improves efficiency must be demonstrated at the very top. Each department head should be consulted in the decision-making process to see what visibility they would like to gain from improved infrastructure data and to hear if they have any concerns about the new solution.

Managers may not need to know every little detail of how the new technology functions but should be aware of what improvements are expected and how the results are advantageous to the company. Leaders should know ERP services are business-focused, as opposed to technology-focused. Implementation requires a lot of forethought and the adoption of any new business procedure needs the support of managers.

Employees must also be invested in new solutions. Any member of a business affected by system changes needs awareness of how new directions improve daily operations.

The ERP Software Blog recommended starting with the big picture. Managers should discuss ERP implementation goals at the forefront of dialogue. Employees have to support where the new technology is headed so they are invested in getting it there. When shopping for solutions, managers have to ask employees what data they feel is vital for success. The workers who perform everyday business routines can report from the heart of operations.

Once company-wide goals are established, managers can start preparing employees for technical adoption. Workers need to be ready for retraining on certain activities. An ERP software solution can integrate into current systems easily if implemented correctly, but some parts of operations have to change and employees should be ready to change with them.

A software partner
There are many ERP solutions available to small or midsize businesses. Before selecting one, managers have to find a technology package that comes with an ERP partner ready to assist in implementation.

A company can't expect to just buy software, install it and begin. The performance of a new system is dictated by how well it was adopted into procedures. The ability to assist as the company begins to utilize the software should be part of a software partner's overall package. When browsing possible options, managers have to speak directly to providers to see what products and services they offer.

If at all possible, a business manager wants to find an ERP partner familiar with the company's particular industry. Pronto Marketing said a software provider should demonstrate a history of success working with similar clients. Companies have to purchase solutions from an ERP consultant that not only offers the latest software technology, but also provides a personalized implementation process.

By The TM Group

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