18 July 2018

Do you have an ERP Post-Implementation Strategy?

Companies invest considerable resources to successfully implement ERP solutions. And yet very few have a post-implementation strategy to maximize their ERP investment. ERP implementations are complex and typically span several months. So, by the time you go live, the last thing you want to hear is that you need to plan additional activities. It’s a bit like telling a marathoner who’s just crossed the finish line that he or she needs to run another three miles.

Research shows that companies that extract the promised value from their ERP system treat it like an investment and consider their post-implementation strategy long before the ERP’s go-live date. Here are some of their winning strategies.

Eyes on the prize

Chances are you started your ERP initiative with high expectations. Then, you started planning and perhaps had to make compromises for all sorts of reasons: lack of budget or talented resources, aggressive schedule, conflicting workload, etc.

Naturally, you have to do things in the right order, and there’s no point automating broken processes. Besides, the essence of any ERP implementation is to integrate various functions into one complete system and streamline business processes across the entire organization. That’s a benefit in itself, although hardly quantifiable, but it’s the stepping stone to drive more tangible business benefits.

So once the dust has settled, take the time to remember why you invested in an ERP system, and what your business objectives are. Then determine the steps to accelerate your return on investment.

Gradual process re-engineering

Usually, the first phase of an ERP implementation focuses on fixing broken processes and improving processes in each department individually. At this stage, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. However, when the company’s various functions are finally integrated in the system, you’ll see more clearly how processes in one department flow into another area of the company or another business unit.

Therefore, it’s important to look holistically at the processes that have the highest impact on your business goals. Then, you can periodically assess their level of efficiency and use that information to focus on continuous improvement.

Ongoing training

Did you know that most organizations are only running 50% of the functionality they’ve implemented?

To prevent this situation, you should check your ERP usage every six to 12 months. People learn by doing, and even if you’ve trained a super user, this person undoubtedly has other responsibilities and may not always be available. Besides, new employees will join the company, while others retire or decide to work elsewhere.

In Microsoft Dynamics 365, the task recorder is a great tool that alleviates the need for ongoing training, but planning is still crucial in assuring the accuracy of your tutorials. An annual budget should be set aside for new development training tools.

Data quality assessments

Business decisions depend on good data. However, as more data is produced and you connect more systems to your ERP, your risk of running into data quality problems also increases.

Regular data quality audits allow you to quickly spot performance issues and take proactive measures to protect critical information and minimize downtime.

ERP: The gift that keeps on giving

ERP really can be a ‘gift that keeps on giving’, but only if you have a plan in place for continuous improvement. Working with an experienced ERP partner will help you design an ERP post-implementation strategy that’s right for your business and that maximizes the value of your ERP investment in the long run. Contact us to start planning info@thinkmax.com

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