When implementing a new ERP system, do not ignore these four key points!
In my 18 years of ERP consulting, most companies do a good job of in the beginning of the purchasing process. Great care and detail are given to make sure that the right ERP solution is selected. During this process they are also making sure that they have confidence in the partner they select to implement the software. The scope of the project is defined at a high level and the related cost to implement is determined. The project is off to a good start, but the story has not ended, it has just begun. Below are four areas that sometimes get overlooked or neglected during the rest of implementation.
- Often overlooked, or not enough value is given is Project Management. Appropriate project management will ensure projects deadlines are met, cost is kept in check and the project remains in scope of the original agreement. A client should ask partners about their project management approach and what tools are used to manage the project. Clients should also understand that great project management comes at a cost and should expect to pay up to 20% of the project cost. This investment can save you many times the cost of the project and keep the project on time. Beware the partner that plays down Project Management!
- Clients should understand the relationship between cost, time, and functionality. While staying on budget, staying on time, and getting all the functionality required to operate are all important, one of these is the most important to each client. It is important to understand this to aid in the decision-making process as the project moves forward. This makes sure that the most important expectations are met. When you focus on one aspect, it will impact the other two variables. For example, if cost is number one, you may have to compromise on some of your functionality and develop internal work arounds. If functionality is the most important, you may have to realize it may take longer and the cost will be higher. These three variables always impact each other. This becomes important as the project moves forward and decisions need to be made as more details are flushed out. This relationship should be the basis for decision making.
- Do not underestimate how much of your team’s time will be required for a successful project. For every consulting hour you could expect as much as 3 times internal hours. This includes the process of gathering requirements, approving setup and design, internal project management, data clean-up, data migration, documentation, document process that interact with the system and testing. Understanding this time investment and when it is required during the project can help you manage the internal team. The lack of internal team time can lead to delays, system design that is not accurate, system customization that needs re-work and impacts the resource availability of the partner. All these items lead to more cost and time delays.
- While there are many more topics that contribute to a successful project, the last one to be covered in is TESTING. You should expect to budget a lot of hours around testing the system and modifications. The partner will test the functionality of the system before it is turned over to the client, but nothing substitutes the experience and knowledge of the client. Testing should be done at a functional level, but also stress testing. Running daily activity through the system. This makes sure everything works together and provides accurate results. Nothing beats the feeling the night before go-live knowing you have thoroughly tested the system.
DSWi has proven experience with these four items to ensure you achieve project success and put your organization in a better place than it was before. We have helped many