BTerrell Group Blog

10 Best Practices to Prevent Failures in ERP Evaluation, Purchase and Implementation

Posted by Michelle Tanner on Thu, Jun 05, 2014

by Siying Wang

Launching an ERP system in your business is one of the most complicated and high cost propositions. However, the potential mistakes and unexpected situations are around every corner. How do you make your ERP system implementation a success? Listed below are 10 best practices in the ERP evaluation, purchase and implementation process that helps you avoid becoming an ERP horror story.

ERP Evaluation

Best Practice #1 Define clear goals for your ERP project

The simplest way to avoid failure in the ERP evaluation process is knowing why you need an ERP implementation. Before you start, we strongly recommend you look beyond the immediate business needs you are trying to accomplish. With clear goals, you can finally evaluate what critical business needs the ERP solution will address for you.

Best practice #2 Have a clear understanding of your business processes

Many companies failed just because they do not have an “inside look” before they begin an EP evaluation. However, a clear understanding of business processes is important for evaluating suitable ERP software, and helps you maximize the business benefits and efficiencies.

Best practice #3 Make sure you have enough time and resources

There is a common failure in the evaluation process that companies often underestimate the resources and time needed to launch a new ERP system. A successful evaluation requires sufficient time contribution, commitment by top management team, and front-line employee involvement. Make sure you have enough time and resources to run evaluations processes, or you may consider the assistance from professional consultants.

 

ERP Purchase

Best practice #4 Understand the key features and chose the right ERP software

Some business owners purchase the ERP software just because other companies in the industry are using it or through friend’s recommendation. While the reputation of a certain ERP solution in a specific field is an important criteria for ERP selection, you still need to make your own choice based on understanding the how the key features are used in your office daily. The right ERP solution that fit the company’s needs will boost the business process, complete functions faster, and support the whole management team.

Best Practice #5 Do your own research and properly vet ERP vendors

I think the American version of what my father taught me is, “Do not put all your eggs in one basket.” Actually, before you make your final decision, you should have at least three vendors’ names in your hand. Always ask for references, particularly those in your industry, about what they like and dislike about their ERP systems. Then call and discuss in detail the functionality, features, and challenges with vendors, do not just ask “yes” or “no” questions.

Best practice #6 Justify the investment and negotiate the contract

Purchasing ERP software sometimes means money costing, and you should always remember to justify the investment based on the specific ERP solution that you select. Be smart on your budget, the potential tangible and intangible benefits should compare to the costs. Then, you may get a better negotiating position because of your dedicated investment performance analysis.

ERP Implementation

Best practice #7 Make sure your data inputs are correct

Some of the clients fail in ERP implementation just because they input the wrong data. Your ERP system will work for you only if you input sufficient and accurate data. Therefore, if you are willing to minimize the potential errors and increase success in EP implementation, it is imperative to make sure that you put the right documents, programming, and procedural parameters in place.

Best Practice #8 Establish an active testing environment

Many ERP projects are deemed failures because of insufficient system and software testing before full operation. Before you get started, do not forget to look at various areas that may cause future problems. An active testing environment will help you avoid costly unplanned downtimes, such as unauthorized access, system overloads, and invalid data entering.

Best practice #9 Invest in training and education

The lack of investing in training and education can prevent an ERP implementation from succeeding. Therefore, ERP training and education is very important as most users must learn the keystrokes and transactions which are required to run the entire system. In addition, the well-trained employees may help your company shorten the frustration period of transition.

Best practice #10 Launch a maintenance strategy

It is obvious that the subsequent maintenance services absolutely are critical for successfully launching your ERP systems. If you do not take advantage of your support services, your systems will get outdated quickly and prevent you from improving your business processes. Therefore, a maintenance strategy should be added to the implementation process. Always ask your consulting partners for help on software upgrades, periodic system reviews, system modifications and more.

 

Reference material: How to Evaluate ERP Software 

 

Siying Wang is an MBA candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas interning with us this summer.


 

Tags: software implementation, software evaluation

Keys to Successful Software Implementations

Posted by Meredith Gooch on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Out of all of the software installations we have performed in our 21 year history, the most successful implementations came from businesses that did their homework! It boils down to these critical steps: assemble your team, define your goals, determine your budget, think about timing, perform a discovery project, and begin thinking of the cost not to implement new software.

Assemble Your Team
This team will be responsible for communicating with potential vendors, participating in presentations, reviewing your bottlenecks and needs vs. the solution, and ultimately making the decision to move forward with one software solution or another. Every member plays an important role, and having one person absent from presentations or other steps along the way will only slow down your progress.

Team

Define Your Goals
Why are you considering purchasing and implementing new software? What will a successful implementation look like? What will a non-successful implementation look like? Work on this within your team, and you will be able to determine this easily. If you don't know what your goals are, how will you measure the success of the implementation?

Determine Your Budget
How do you know if you are within budget on a project without first knowing what the budget is? This one should be a no-brainer.

Begin Thinking About Timing
Is there a hard date when you need this implementation complete? (i.e. You won't be able to run Payroll unless it is complete by the start of the next quarter.) Are you just looking at options so you can plan for next year's budget? Would you like to be up and running by the end of the quarter? These are important things to know and to communicate with your software partner so they can plan accordingly to meet your deadlines.

Perform a Discovery Process
Many software products look alike as they relate to what is on the brochures. Take the time to figure out what you need in order to know if you've achieved your goals in the end! Ask the hard questions, and ensure you find a solution that gets you at least 85%-90% there…software development or add-ons can get you the rest of the way. Don't just buy a product for its look and feel…it may not have all the functionality you need. Partnering with a software vendor such as BTerrell Group is a great way to complete this step of the process. Believe me, in our 21 years in this industry we've seen just about everything. When you and your chosen vendor complete a discovery process before determining what needs to be done, results are seen faster, they are many times larger, and everyone is happy.

Begin Thinking About What It Would Cost You NOT to Implement the New Software
Perhaps you decide you want to wait until next year to purchase and implement the software. Maybe you really need the software up and running, but you have gotten buried between other projects and have let the software slip through the cracks. Sound familiar? It is important to think about what it will COST YOU NOT TO IMPLEMENT the new software. (Ex. A simple Accounts Payable automation might save you ten hours of processing time, or $13,000 per year. It did for one of our clients.)

Overall, deciding on a software vendor to partner with, purchasing the software, and working along side the partner as they implement it can sometimes be seen as a painful process, but with the right planning you can ease your way into the results you desire. If you would like more information about BTerrell Group, the software we provide, or the results our clients have achieved when working with us, please shoot us an email or gives a call at 214-647-2611. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals in 2012!

Hooray

Tags: successful software implementation, software implementation