Let Go of These Myths When Implementing a New ERP Solution
If you have ever been through an ERP implementation without the guidance of an experienced and organized software professional, you know it can be brutal, stressful, and not very fun. Change is not fun even under the best of circumstances, but on top of that, some business owners have misconceptions about how to approach a new software implementation.
Let go of these myths to streamline your implementation:
1. The Executive team knows the business well enough to know what the new ERP should solve. FALSE
While the founders and managers of the company understand the high-level goals and strategies, they often don't know what the employees who do the work know.
For instance, Sue in Purchasing can't answer internal questions on product availability promptly because her legacy system requires manual tracking of expected delivery dates. As a result, she has to deal with the errors - a natural outcome from manual data entry. And every time a customer sales order changes, she has to adjust her requirements for availability by hand. It's not efficient and not sustainable.
Want to know what your company's technology does and doesn't do? Include your employees in the conversation. They know what customers like and what they don't. When you decide it is time to modernize your business with a new ERP solution, employee feedback is valuable and relevant. Your frontline workers are your best source to identify the bottlenecks that are clogging up company productivity.
2. We can save money by getting our employees to do most of the work for an ERP implementation. FALSE
Is it wise to have your employees do their full-time job and spend a considerable amount of time implementing an ERP solution?
When internal employees are driving the bulk of a complex project, priorities get lost. And it is not their fault. But, if they have business to close, products to ship, or customers to serve, getting distracted and overwhelmed with a complex implementation is not the most outstanding value for the company.
The best use of their time is to serve as a subject matter expert to ensure the project team understands the issues that impact feet-on-the-ground day-to-day productivity.
It also may impact the build when your employees are not comfortable disagreeing with management or rocking the boat with colleagues. This approach may lead to customizations that an expert may convince you are unnecessary.
3. Our IT department knows the best technology for our company. FALSE
You rely on your IT department every day to keep your current system operating; they know your existing systems' strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. That said, they all come with biases and preconceived preferences based on their individual experiences. They may have worked with another ERP brand and feel comfortable with it, but it might not solve your company's productivity issues.
Finding the right software fit shouldn't be influenced by personal biases but by your company requirements. An independent expert with experience in ever-evolving technologies can provide options that you may not get from your IT department.
4. Engaging experts who understand technology and change management will add unnecessary costs to the project. FALSE
Some employees have brilliantly adapted to the quirks in your legacy system and learned to operate within the constraints of old technology. They created workarounds to fill the gaps in the system. And they may be attached to how they do things today because it is in their comfort zone.
No one likes change, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Nevertheless, adapting to the new system is essential. Managing fear and uncertainty in a thoughtful roll-out of your project will reduce anxiety and promote user adoption of the latest technology.
An experienced professional team can help transition your staff with a systematic plan. Professionals know not to overwhelm employees during an evolving process where roles may change, and fears of losing their place in the company are high. In addition, adapting to new system requirements can mean new procedures which may shift multiple times during the testing and validation phases.
They might get feedback from the employee: "I never had to enter this information before, and it is too much work."
The implementation professionals will always show them the added benefit for their work; it might mean that closing the financials takes a few hours instead of a week. A good change management team can keep everyone focused on the positives.
I heard one consultant give this example: "I told everyone in a training class to remove their watch from the wrist that they normally wear it on and put it on the opposite wrist." The consultant told them, "See, you haven't lost the ability to tell what time it is; you only need to know where to look for it."
Don't let these myths mentioned above influence your next software implementation. Finding the right ERP partner who can determine the best internal and external resources for the project can help you budget, control costs, and ease the anxiety that comes with change. Your reward will be a successful ERP project and technology that arms you to compete.
About the Author: Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to companies to help them compete. We're not afraid to offer radically excellent customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Acumatica to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com.