Most businesses are awake that they need to adopt digital technologies to compete in today’s market, but the fear of failures holds them back. In the UK public sector, for example, many local government decision makers are being encouraged to adopt a cloud-first policy which involves switching away from legacy systems, but without the confidence to make choices in new software systems, very little is moving forward.
That is why it is the responsibility of cloud ERP software companies and their ecosystem of partners to educate and encourage nervous customers about the value of cloud ERP, which means talking honestly and upfront about what can go wrong. There are many ways you can prepare people for success and avoid malfunction, from the early discovery and education phase, right through to the go live.
Here are a few tips for those thinking about embarking on an ERP implementation as part of their digital transformation.
This is at the top of the list and for a good reason – working with the right people makes all the difference. We hear so many stories; from companies who achieve quick implementations but are left unable to use their system to people who have been won over to have a system that is not right for them.
How to get over it: Trust is vital. Without it, you may never really know if you have chosen the right system or if your project will be delivered in time. We suggest shopping just about for the implementation partner who has the best reputation for delivering. That may mean stepping out of your comfort zone to go with a smaller company or paying a bit more to get what you feel like, but it’ll be well worth it.
There is more choice in ERP than ever before; from on-premise systems to cloud-based software as a service, to industry-specific solutions. Add to that a growing case of limited scope packages, e.g., Finance Only or Finance & Procurement, which can be implemented in a fixed time and for a fixed price. Not everyone wants cloud, but it is undoubtedly a game changer and businesses of all sizes and turnovers can get involved, now that there is a solution built with them in mind. With so much choice, making the right judgment could be the biggest problem here.
How to get over it: A customer with a set of defined needs is worth their weight in gold. Armed with a checklist of core requirements everyone can make a perfect start in finding the best fit. Customers who fall for glitzy gimmicks and dazzling skin tone may come unstuck when their system does not do what they want it to.
Do you know where you want to be in the next 5 or 10 years? It’s a classic question for any business, but when it comes to selecting and implementing ERP, it becomes more critical than ever. It would be a big mistake to choose a item for consumption that did not allow you to add in users if you had aggressive expansion plans – likewise software providers need to know if there are plans to create subsidiaries, to open up warehouses in a foreign country or any other activity that might point to dealing with multiple tax regimes or currencies.
How to get over it: Plan ahead – create a roadmap and share it with your IT software partner – they can accommodate these things, but it helps to know in relation to them from the get-go!
Never underestimate the importance of people. Without staff on board, projects are doomed to fail. Consider the genuine fears being experienced by community in an organization undergoing change. Some may fear that automated processes and much faster access to reports will make them obsolete they may be right – but the best policy is to address those fears not sweep them under the carpet.
How to get over it: Ensure buy-in at all levels. When an organization is made up of people who understand the WHY of what is being done, then they are more liable to come on board with the HOW.
Is over complex bureaucracy slowing things down? Consultants are great at getting on with their jobs when they are allowed to, but sometimes multiple layers of management and late decision making can slow things up and waste valuable time. Projects can finish surprisingly swiftly when decisions are taken promptly.
How to get over it: Make sure that decision makers are involved in the project teams from the beginning. Without those people on board, decisions can take forever. Hold-ups lead to bottlenecks and everyone’s valuable time is worn out.
Your chosen IT partner should walk you through the process you are about to endure so you know exactly what is expected – if they haven’t then you need to find out what’s going on.
How to get over it: Make sure partners are giving you what you need – you should know what is going on at all times. For your part, you need to establish a good domination structure in which each person knows their role and responsibilities.