For anyone starting an ERP project it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are a lot of areas to consider and even a seasoned veteran of ERP projects can feel overwhelmed.
In this guide to starting an ERP project we cover:
- Building Your Team
- Deciding on the Type of ERP Project
- Getting a Plan in Place
- What to do Next
Building Your Team
The first step in starting an ERP project is building a team who can deliver. You want to have a variety of skillsets here with people who will take ownership and rise to any challenges. Without building a team who have dedicated roles you run the risk of the ERP project never taking priority and progress being incredibly slow.
At a minimum you want someone to lead the project in a project manager role and involve key individuals from the main areas of your business. System users are vital to talk to so you can start to understand the processes within your business and what you need any system to do. You must also consider people with the technical skillset required for arears like data migration and the training of other team members.
You may not have all the necessary skills in-house for starting an ERP project so it is worth looking at working with an ERP consultancy who can help fill any gaps you may have. They can add a layer of protection to the project and save time in having to recruit someone with the right skillset.
Deciding on the Type of ERP Project
Once you have a team in place it is time to decide what type of ERP project you are going to be starting. Is it a full system replacement or is it an optimisation of what you currently have? Sometimes this will be dictated by budget but ideally you want to look at the processes within your business to see what the correct approach is.
Your business processes are how your company operates. For a manufacturer this could be how you go from raw material to finished product. What systems are used, who is involved, and what do they do to make sure everything runs smoothly? All of this combines to create your current “As Is” ways of working and starts to paint a picture of where issues exist within your business.
You then need to work on your “To Be” future that maps out how your business processes should run. This can include best practices for your industry if you are going for a new system or the best of what is possible by optimising your current systems. Only once you have completed this Blueprint process can you know what the best approach is for your business.
Getting a Plan in Place
So, you have built a team and have built a Blueprint that shows where you are and where you want to be. Now it is time to get a plan in place for how you are going to reach this end vision.
A project plan will help outline expectations around budget, skills required, and timeline for project milestones. It also allows you to have the key deliverables, requirements, and benefits laid out early to guide the project. Having all this information clearly laid out helps get buy-in from teams as well as board level approval.
Having a detailed plan before starting an ERP project is one of the best ways to ensure the project will be successful.
What to do Next
Depending on if you are replacing your current ERP system or optimising will slightly change your next step. For those going with a new system your next step will be the selection stage. This involves making a shortlist of potential solutions and engaging with vendors to arrange demonstrations that are relevant to your business.
For those going down the optimisation route you will need to decide what those improvements look like. Sometimes this can be increasing functionality through add-ons or customisations. Other times it will simply be a case of refining processes and getting teams using more of what the ERP system can do.
Starting an ERP project can feel overwhelming due to the size and scope of this type of project. But once you break it down into manageable steps you have a much clearer way forward that gives you the best chance of success.
If you would like to learn about how Optimum can help you deliver an ERP project successfully, then get in touch with us today.