A common question we come across is “how long should an ERP implementation take?” Companies want to be able to plan budgets and resources, but also want to know when they can expect to be seeing the benefits of their investment.
For a typical ERP implementation you should plan for 6 months to 2 years to be fully operational with the new system. These timings can be more or less depending on a variety of factors that we will cover down below.
Size of the Company
The size of a company will have a massive impact on the length of time to implement a new ERP system. This is because it is much more difficult to rollout a system across multiple sites, or in some cases multiple countries. You must decide on either a big bang approach, where everything goes live at once, or a phased approach where sites/countries go-live at different times.
Going with a big bang will reduce the time for go-live but you increase the risk to your business if something goes wrong. With a phased approach you can bring each site live at different times, giving you the chance to learn between each rollout. Unfortunately, this does result in a large increase in the time required to get everything set up and running.
Complexity of the ERP System
With the variety of ERP systems on the market you will have your choice of simple or complex systems to choose from. This also impacts on the time taken to implement an ERP system as more complex systems will have more integrations and take longer to train users.
You want to make sure you select a system that has the right level of features and complexity for your needs. Selecting one that is overly complex will only increase the implementation time with no benefit to you.
For every piece of custom modification you have to make to the ERP system you increase the length of the implementation time. Not only does code have to be planned and written, but you must test functionality, handle troubleshooting, and document how the feature works.
It is good practice to keep custom modifications to a minimum as they can result in issues arising that vendors and suppliers won’t know how to fix. If you do really need to make custom modifications, consider how these will affect the length of time to implement your ERP system.
The downfall of many ERP projects is the quality of data in existing systems. When migrating to a new ERP all this data has to be cleansed, remapped, and ready to load into the new system. This process takes time and is worse for companies with data that is of poor quality.
When planning your timeline for ERP implementations, be sure to think about what state your current data is in and if it is likely to cause problems when it comes time to migrate.
Another key issue that can impact how long an ERP implementation takes is the skillset of the team on the project. If this is their first implementation then they are going to work at a slower pace while running into more problems they are unsure to how quickly fix.
We recommend always working with an independent ERP consultancy, like ourselves, who can provide resources that fill the experience gaps within your team. This helps to keep the project moving at pace as well as securing against common issues and pitfalls that derail ERP projects.
Number of Users
The final thing that can heavily impact the length of an ERP implementation is the number of users that will be on the system.
Not only do you have to consider the time to set up accounts and access privileges, but you must also think about training. No matter how it is delivered, more users means more training time. There will be more groups to go through and you are likely to face an increased number of questions.
One of the best ways to keep your ERP implementation time to a minimum is by working with an independent partner like Optimum PPS. Our team are experts in delivering projects on time and in budget to make sure you get the benefit from your new system as quickly as possible. Why not get in touch today to see what we can do for you.