Implementing an ERP software system not only involves a great deal of expenditure, efforts and time, it also involves change in some of the complex business processes. Such changes are often disliked by the employees and are a big risk. In order to ensure success, everyone in the company, from the leadership to back-office workers should cooperate.
Implementing ERP requires a team of experts who understand the business and technical aspects of the project. A separate ERP solution provider is employed for working with each department in understanding their processes and challenges.
Implementation of ERP involves the following steps:
Planning and Requirements Analysis
This is the initial phase where the company takes a decision on implementing ERP. The decision could based on their need to comply with legal requirements, replace their legacy applications, for benefits of integration, reduction of inventory, reduction of operational costs, risk management, additional functionality or speeding up processes.
The team chooses an ERP system. Typically a niche player in resource planning software developement is chosen instead of developing from scratch. Some of the leading vendors are: SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle,Sage Group, MS Business Solutions, SSA Global, Lawson and Intentia.
This is the phase where the ERP team re-engineers the business processes around the Best Practices wherever feasible and identifies the processes that will result in customizing the ERP software application. The IT infrastructure requirements based on ERP system architecture and vendor are prepared.
In this phase, the ERP team uses the identified business processes as the basis for implementation to build prototypes by choosing standard models, processes, inputs and outputs. This phase involves business super-users in determining the system elements.
This phase involves installation of the ERP software, migration of data from the old applications to the ERP system, configuring the ERP system for reporting, implementing security, interfaces etc. The end users are involved at this stage to test the system after being trained. The implementation consultants seek feedback, identify software bugs/corrections, performance bottlenecks and apply the fixes. A decision on switching to the new ERP system is taken.
This is an ongoing phase which involves patching/upgrading the software, enhancing the functionality of the applications, changes in reports etc. This is either taken care of by in-house IT department or outsourced to consulting firms.