Successful ERP implementations unfortunately just are not the result of luck or chance. It takes a lot of hard work, good design, proper planning and project management, and a dedicated team from both the customer and partner to make things happen.
There are several ways to approach the implementation of a new ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics 365, and not surprisingly, some approaches work better than others. At Sunrise Technologies, we’ve implemented hundreds of ERP solutions powered by Microsoft for our customers in the manufacturing industry.
Based on our learnings and experience, here are the 3 critical success factors that need to occur early on in an ERP implementation that can really impact the outcome of the project.
- Employee Involvement and Focus
ERP implementation teams should be composed of top-notch staff that is chosen for their skills, past accomplishments, reputation, and flexibility. The best employees from across the organization including accounting, planning, customer service, production, and distribution as well as technology teams need to commit to the ERP program either on a full time basis or as their number one priority during the implementation. These internal resources should exhibit the ability to understand the overall needs of the company and be entrusted with critical decision making responsibility and authority.
- Clearly Defined Project Scope
Whether the project scope is defined during the sales process or after, having a well-defined and written scope of work can mean the difference between a failed project with disastrous results, and a highly successful project with huge benefits. The project scope is of vital importance to the execution of the project. This is because it becomes the basis for the requirements of the project and the resources that need to be deployed. The scoping process helps define clear expectations upfront and establish overall goals. At the end of the scoping process, everyone should have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, helping to set the stage for the project going forward.
- Sufficient Employee Training
During the early stages of implementation education and training is probably one of the most widely recognized critical success factors because user understanding and buy-in is essential. ERP implementation requires a critical mass of knowledge to enable people to solve problems within the framework of the system. If the employees do not understand how the system works hand in hand with their processes, they will invent their own processes using those parts of the system they are able to manipulate.
To make end user training successful, the training should start early, preferably before the implementation begins especially for skills that will help the users better implement and utilize the solution. Executives often underestimate the level of education and training necessary to implement an ERP system as well as the associated costs. Top management must be fully committed to incorporate the training cost as a part of the ERP budget.
ERP deployments, especially for manufacturing companies, can be large in scope and have many moving parts that can impact nearly every aspect of a company. To help ensure your success, we recommend working with a partner like us who follows a clear implementation approach that is based on best practices and proven results, and includes as much planning as possible early on in the project.