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Manufacturers and distributors turn to enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to smooth over their pain points and strengthen their bottom line. However, some never make it to these goals. Though ERP’s reputation for being overly complex and unfit for small businesses is unwarranted, organizations can find themselves up against implementation roadblocks if they don’t diligently follow best practices. Check out some of the biggest ERP implementation challenges and learn how to ensure they don’t stop you from optimizing your business performance.
IT and Business Alignment
When it comes to executing projects, your managers and IT team are often speaking different languages. IT personnel understand coding and infrastructure requirements, but not how all your business processes work together. Managers, on the other hand, don’t know the first thing about software architecture and all the technical components of an ERP implementation. When everyone’s on different pages, it’s impossible to lay out a clear project plan that can deliver the desired outcomes.
To create the perfect marriage between IT and business requirements, it’s critical to build a project team and practice clear communication. Companies often mistakenly form a team of only IT personnel. A team should consist of people with different areas of expertise. While IT personnel contribute their technical skills, other members should bring their knowledge of unique business processes to ensure the software supports user needs. Everyone should clearly define roles and touch base regularly to keep the project on track.
You want your business to take advantage of as many ERP features as possible, but you can’t afford to bite off more than you can chew. Companies often get sold on more add-ons, modules and customizations than they really need. This not only piles onto the overall project cost but also complicates your implementation, putting the deployment at risk. Adding more and more tasks and features as you undergo the project is known as scope creep, and this can be deadly to your ERP budget.
To avoid scope creep and budget overruns, identify business processes early in the project. Carefully document each task performed by your users, keeping an eye out for any gaps in your processes. Once you’ve undergone thorough business process modeling, prioritize your ERP requirements. What are the strategic advantages that your ERP must support immediately? What are the inefficiencies hurting your bottom line the most? Focus on the most important implementation goals—other issues can wait until after go-live. Zoning in on these specific goals will prevent your team from taking on additional tasks that will up the project cost and delay deployment.
Sometimes, budget overruns occur because the budget wasn’t realistic to begin with. The total cost of ownership (TCO) for an ERP instance goes beyond the price tag on the box. In addition to the platform itself, you’ll have to determine the costs of hardware, customizations, support plans and fees. (Keep in mind that cloud hosting tends to cost less because of the lack of hardware expenses, but it still entails a data usage fee.) Make sure you look at all the expenses and perform an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis to determine if an ERP implementation will reap the desired return on investment.
How many people in the office have undergone dozens of ERP implementations? Chances are, nobody. Some companies don’t even have an IT team, let alone experts with a sophisticated understanding of both business process modeling and ERP best practices. These skills gaps put organizations at risk of all-out ERP failure—if they go it alone.
Software consultants know what it takes to get an ERP system successfully deployed. They have experience in every aspect of ERP implementation and maintenance, including security, project management, data conversion and user training. Whatever gaps you have in your software knowledge, you can count on consultants to fill them and execute your project from start to finish.
At Datix, we’re committed to making ERP projects as smooth as possible. As an Epicor Gold Partner, we know all the tricks to executing ERP implementations in line with each client’s business processes. After over 20 years of providing manufacturing and distribution solutions, we’ve honed our methodology and developed a thorough understanding of several industries. No other consulting firm can serve as a one-stop shop for leading software solutions.
Don’t let anything come between you and a successful ERP implementation—contact Datix’s expert consultants today!