Moving house is a pretty big deal and something you need to prepare for ahead of your moving date. An ERP implementation isn’t so different to that. There can be a lot to think about - which is why getting a preparation checklist worked out can ensure you keep on track with some essential pre-implementation tasks.
Perhaps you're still going through the “open house” stage of checking out ERP systems that meet your business needs. Or maybe you've done your research and are almost ready to make the move. Whichever stage you’re at, there will be some pre-move preparations to do.
Here are some of the critical aspects of getting ready for an ERP implementation that can help form your preparation checklist.
Talk to your team about their day-to-day processes and operations. Which processes are slowing them down? Are they double-entering data and increasing the chances of human errors? Are there delays between different steps, for example, if one task replies on a prior task to be completed first? It’s these kinds of process weaknesses that you’ll want to improve as part of your ERP implementation.
Many companies have undocumented processes. And some of these processes cause slow-downs within the business. Now is your chance to capture what’s been creating bottlenecks and errors and record the current and desired states. You’ll end up with documentation that makes it easy to quantify the value of your improvements. Your records will also make it easy to onboard new staff and continue carrying out more improvements down the track.
Identify what’s costing the business time and effort before kicking off your ERP implementation. It will help you gain quick wins and maximise long-term benefits.
"Many companies have undocumented processes. And some of these processes cause slow-downs within the business. Now is your chance to capture what’s been creating bottlenecks and errors and record the current and desired states."
Your business likely has a set of reports that it uses to gauge performance. Whether you’re exporting data from multiple systems and bringing it together in Excel or tracking performance manually, now is your chance to make your reporting easier.
Your new ERP system should leverage single-source data and produce reports in real-time with complete, up-to-date information. Waiting for compiled spreadsheets reliant on complex formulas should no longer be necessary if your ERP solution provider is helping you make the most of your ERP software.
Note down the reports you’re currently using to track performance and work with your solution provider to establish which reports from within your new ERP will provide the same or improved information.
"Waiting for compiled spreadsheets reliant on complex formulas should no longer be necessary if your ERP solution provider is helping you make the most of your ERP software."
Roles & administrators
Many cloud-based ERP solutions are role-based. Working with roles not only provides an extra level of security, ensuring that users see only the data they’re meant to see, but also streamlines system navigation for each user.
Jot down the role-based needs of each of your staff. Your ERP solution provider can help you define which roles will be most suitable for users or create specific access roles if needed.
During implementation, your team will learn how to use the new ERP system. They’ll also have questions and be needing quick answers. Internal “superusers”, or ERP champions, can add a considerable amount of value in this instance and help others experience a smooth transition to the new system.
There are always certain users who pick things up quickly and adapt easily; the natural learners. Engage these natural learners early on and enlist their help in being the “go to” people during implementation.
Your ERP implementation partner will be there to educate, advise, and train users. But having in-house “superusers” provides a point of contact to keep the momentum, and the spirit of learning, happening quickly and continuously.
"There are always certain users who pick things up quickly and adapt easily; the natural learners. Engage these natural learners early on and enlist their help in being the “go to” people during implementation."
One of the worst things you can do when implementing an ERP system is to bring over bad data from existing systems. This includes duplicate, missing, incomplete and incorrect information.
ERP is designed to drive process efficiencies and streamline your operations. Therefore, migrating bad data from one system to another can throw a proverbial spanner in the works.
Data cleansing doesn’t have to mean going through your data with a fine tooth comb and spending time looking for issues. More simply, it can be a case of deciding which essential data to bring over and checking that data. Non-essential information can always be left in legacy systems or exported for record-keeping purposes. These methods can provide a clean, straightforward starting point.
Consider what information you need to be available in your new ERP system. Focusing on the essential data can help speed up the implementation without cutting any corners.
Your preparation checklist
The points covered so far can help form your preparation checklist. It’s a good idea to keep your checklist on-hand to stay on track with everything that needs to be done before starting your ERP implementation. Here’s a quick recap:
- Processes - identify what’s causing bottlenecks and errors, and start documenting your current and desired states
- Reporting - understand which reports you’re using to track business performance and what will be replicated or improved upon in your new ERP system
- Roles & administrators - set out the role-based needs of each of your system users and work with your ERP solution provider fill in any gaps
- Superusers - engage your staff early on and enlist the help of your natural learners to become an in-house point of contact for help with your new ERP system
- Data cleansing - decide what data to leave behind, what to bring over, and focus on tidying up your essential data
Bonus tip: leveraging expertise
Whether you’re in the ERP software “open house” stage of checking out different systems or ready to move house, start thinking about preparing for the move. If you need help putting together a plan of attack, ask an experienced ERP solution provider who’s been through the process many times before.
Your ERP provider can be a valuable resource, so be sure to leverage their expertise. They can give you the guidance needed to make your ERP implementation a positive move, to get things right the first time, and to help you see a return on your investment even faster.
Find out what else you need to know before implementing an ERP system. Get your free business guide, 7 Critical Success Factors for ERP Implementation.