ERP Adoption: Setting Expectations for a First-Time Success - Striven

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ERP Adoption: Setting Expectations for a First-Time Success

Will Zane
June 13, 2024
6 min read

So, you’ve finally decided it’s time to shift gears and move to an ERP software solution to take your business to the next level. Starting your first enterprise-level software implementation can feel pretty overwhelming for any business owner. The good news is that professional ERP implementation teams have performed this migration process for businesses like yours hundreds of times; they know where the landmines are. 

Still, it takes planning, coordination, and effort to get your company to the finish line and beyond. Knowing what you’re getting into and what’s expected can really help make the whole process smoother. This guide is here to help you along the way, breaking down the roles and responsibilities of both your organization and those of your experienced implementation team. 

Let’s walk you through what an ideal implementation looks like and how to work together effectively to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

Implementation Team Responsibilities

Your experienced ERP implementation team takes a consultative role and drives the successful deployment of the ERP system. Here’s what they do:

1. Project Management

Scope and Planning: The implementation team is responsible for defining the written project scope, setting timelines, and planning each phase of the implementation. This includes creating a detailed project calendar with key milestones and deliverables.

Coordination and Communication: Effective communication is essential. The team ensures that all stakeholders are informed about progress, potential issues, and any changes to the project plan.

2. System Setup and Customization

System Configuration: After significant and ongoing consultation with your business’ department heads and priority stakeholders, the implementation team configures the ERP system to meet your specific needs, setting up workflows, user permissions, and the like.

Customization: Some companies may charge extra for developing complex reports and customizations, but most all-in-one ERP systems run right out of the box. You may decide some level of customization is helpful to more closely align your new ERP system with your unique business processes. 

3. Data Migration

Data Assessment and Cleaning: Before migration, the team assesses the quality of your existing data, scrubbing and massaging it to ensure accuracy. Garbage in, garbage out.

Data Migration: They develop and execute a systematic data migration plan based on your ongoing needs, testing to confirm data integrity and completeness.

4. Pre-Cutover

System Verification: Make sure the initial ERPsystem config meets the written project scope, and review any items uncovered during initial testing to identify those that may require additional enhancement or priority development. 

Training: To get your employees ready to use the new system, the implementation team offers training programs tailored to different user roles.

5. Post-Rollout

Ongoing Support: Post-implementation, the team is there to support and work through any issues, answer questions, and ensure smooth system operation. Some companies offer paid levels of premium or priority support.

Responsibilities of Your Organization

Failure is not an option! For a successful ERP implementation, your company must actively participate and take on several key responsibilities:

1. Executive Sponsorship and Leadership

Executive Support: Senior leadership must actively support the project, allocating necessary resources and driving the strategic vision.

Project Champion: Assign a project champion with the authority to make decisions, resolve issues, and meet project milestones.

2. Clear Requirements and Goals

Needs Assessment: With your implementation team’s guidance, conduct a thorough needs assessment to define clear goals and requirements for your ERP system. This includes identifying key functionalities and expected outcomes.

Process Documentation: Clearly document all requirements, workflows, and processes. This provides a clear reference for the implementation team and can be included in the project scope.

Success Metrics: What does success look like to you? Define success metrics that all teams agree on and regularly track them.

3. Dedicated Project Team

Inter-Departmental Team: Establish your internal implementation project team with members from each area to provide insights and feedback.

Time Commitment: Make sure those team members can dedicate sufficient time to the project to avoid delays and miscommunications. This is a key hurdle. Any delays would come from the business’ level of commitment and responsiveness, not the implementation team’s.

4. Change Management

Communication: Develop a communication strategy to inform and engage employees throughout the implementation process, explaining the benefits and impact of the new system.

Managing Resistance: Address resistance proactively by involving employees in the process, seeking their input, and providing support. Your implementation team can share some strategies.

5. Data Prep

Data Quality: Work with your team to ensure your data is clean, accurate, and consistent before migration. This involves removing duplicates and correcting errors.

Data Ownership: Assign data stewards responsible for maintaining data quality and integrity during and after migration, as well as who has access to what information.

6. User Training and Adoption

Training Participation: Ensure employees participate in training sessions and lean into the learning process. (You know the ones who will be the most change resistant.)

Feedback Mechanism: Establish mechanisms for employees to provide feedback on the training and the ERP system.

Final Thoughts

ERP implementation is a complex and challenging process, especially for those new to it. However, with clear responsibilities, a structured approach, and effective collaboration, it can be successful and rewarding. Keep your eyes on the prize. Both the implementation team and your organization must work closely together, leveraging their strengths to ensure the ERP system delivers its full potential.

Will Zane Headshot

Will Zane

Will Zane is the Director of Customer Success at Striven. He's responsible for providing the training, support, and resources that businesses need to succeed. In his spare time, Will enjoys the outdoors and being a diehard Trekkie.