**Originally posted by HARMONiQ

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

The idea of what a new ERP system and process automation can deliver for your business is exciting – but before you can experience the benefits, you need to undertake a successful implementation.

In our last blog, we talked about how to decide whether an ERP system is right for your business – if you’ve decided that it is, you’ll want to keep reading. Or, download our ERP automation eBook for a complete breakdown of ERP implementation techniques.

The transition period of system implementation is critical to the success of your ERP further down the line – simply investing in process automation technology does not guarantee you a seamless journey to success and growth.

Not only is an ERP system an investment of time and money but it will affect the way your employees do their job, the future capabilities of your business and your capacity for growth.

With stakes this high, successful implementation can prove to be make or break.

Poor approach, poor result

The ERP implementation itself can only fail if you allow it to. Taking a back seat and assuming your vendor and the technology can do all the work for you will result in:

  • Receiving a system that’s not right for you

During the implementation phase, your ERP vendor will work to customise the system to best suit your business needs (within the limits of the technology). Failing to establish specifically what you expect and need from your system – or focusing on the fancy features instead of must-haves – will see deliverance of a system that doesn’t meet your process automation needs and can’t be utilised to its full potential.

  • Not achieving your goals

If you can’t clearly outline what quantifiable targets you want to reach with the help of your ERP system, chances are that not only will it be difficult to customise, but you could face problems convincing your staff to get onboard with such a big change. If you don’t know what your goals are, you should be reassessing your decision to implement ERP in the first place.

  • Experiencing people problems

Failing to get your staff involved with the transition and not establishing open paths of communication will result in an incredibly disjointed ERP implementation experience. Failure to consider the human impact of change leads to:

  • Technology that doesn’t suit your staff needs
  • Staff dissatisfaction
  • Staff unable or unwilling to utilise the technology
  • Discovering problems (or better ideas) after implementation.

The result of all these factors is a system that doesn’t automate the processes you desire and ultimately, a waste of time and money.

A poorly implemented ERP system can cause all kinds of headaches

Cover all your bases

Before you start your ERP implementation – or even source a vendor – carefully think about your expectations, goals, and unique business requirements or parameters. You can never be too prepared, especially when it comes to ERP systems.

Chances are you won’t be going through this process again for quite some time, so it’s worth putting in the effort to make sure you’re getting just what you need, and that the system you implement now will continue to benefit your business through future periods of change and growth.

No one knows your business like you do. Using employee experience and knowledge, past limitations and future goals, you have the ability to build a strong foundation for your new ERP system.

Keep in mind that before – and throughout – the implementation journey, you need to consider:

  • Business trajectory
  • Processes that can benefit from optimisation/automation.
  • Each role that will be affected (and how)
  • Your quantifiable business targets

The benefits of an ERP system can be endless – if you plan correctly

Get out what you put in

The path to ERP is not walked alone – your ERP vendor will be your partner through the process. Your ERP vendor will be there to provide you with expertise you need to realise desired benefits and process automation. However, it’s important not to expect too much from them, as they can’t do all the work for you.

Your best chance at a positive ERP implementation and system transition is through building a specific pre-implementation plan.

This plan allows you and your entire business to be ready for the changes your ERP system will bring, and ensure you’re getting the best ROI. Some helpful elements to include in your plan are:

  1. Project objectives – Why are you implementing the system? What business goals are you wanting it to help you achieve?
    What process automation are you seeking?
  2. Project team – Designate a representative from every department that will be affected by the change and have them take ownership of a particular area of the implementation based on their expertise.
  3. Discovery – Make time for you ERP vendor to learn the ins and outs of your business processes and future goals, so they can build a system that reflects this.
  4. Change management – Form a strategy and team to handle the human impact of the change and drive communication throughout the business

It can be easy to get caught up in the end result – but to ensure you make it there, preparation is key.

For a step-by-step walk through of how to approach and build your pre-implementation plan, download our ERP Automation eBook. Here you can find all the most commonly asked questions about ERP’s and read a more in-depth overview of the implementation process.