How to Develop an ERP Project Plan
When an ERP system becomes the need of a company, the company often jumps right into ERP selection without taking any time to prepare. However, this is the biggest mistake. It is very important that first an ERP project plan based on realistic expectations is developed.
Most vendors are not equipped to a developed, realistic project plan because they don’t account for all the components of ERP success.
This blog may help you set realistic expectations for ERP selection and implementation. This may further help you to develop an effective project plan.
THE IMPORTANCE FOR REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS — Many companies, begin ERP implementation with a goal of selecting a software that will deliver them a high ROI. They soon realize that the project is much more complex than they expected, and the benefits are still more difficult to find.
WHY DO COMPANIES HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS — A reason for unrealistic expectations may be that most companies focus mainly on the technical aspects of implementation. If you want to achieve expected ERP business benefits you must also concentrate on the people and process aspects. It is also important to watch out for other mindsets that lead to unrealistic expectations.
REALISTIC ERP SELECTION EXPECTATIONS — The first thought that comes to our mind while selecting an ERP system, is that, how long will it take for the ERP selection to complete. The answer is atleast 14 weeks, but larger companies, with multiple locations might as well take as atleast 16 weeks. Its also important that we keep our budget in mind. But before we start contacting ERP vendors, we should set the realistic expectations. We can set them taking help from the following sub-points:
- Ensuring Organizational Alignment — The key to a successful ERP selection is that the people working in your company understand the advantages of an ERP so that they are ready for the change and the organization is aligned.
- Developing A Business Case — To win over executives you should design a business case, that includes an outline of how an ERP system can help in the development of your organization. All this can inspire your executives which will help you with a proper ERP selection.
- Building A Selection Team — At an early stage, we don’t know what are the adequate resource required to build an ERP project plan. Therefore, it is very important to build a selection team for the ERP before we select it.
- Mitigation Change Resistance — As soon as, you have planned to bring an ERP system into your organization, you should start to bring a change in the management of your organization.
- Mapping Your Current State — Mapping your current state will help you to know about your requirements that needs to fit in the ERP system. Though nothing is ideal, and the system may not fit in all your requirements, knowing them, will help you to prioritize them.
- Improving Business Processes — While some processes may need only some improvements others may need complete business process re-engineering. Finally, this can build up efficient processes that will guide you through your ERP selection. If a system can’t support your business processes then it’s not right for your business. Though this may increase your ERP selection time, leaving it for the implementing part, will be even more time-consuming and more costly.
- Understanding Deployment Options — Some ERP systems are on-premise, while some are on cloud and some may even be hybrid i.e. both on-premise and on cloud. While on-premise software can be less costly but not easy to use, on cloud software can be costly but very much easier to use. The ease of use and cost for hybrid disasters may vary. So it is very important for us to be in our budget and also at the same time be very careful to choose the right ERP system.
- Developing An IT Strategy — There are several IT strategies you need to make before ERP selection. For example, whether you need a single software or multiple breed-software's. This depends on your needs and may even require customization which is costly. Hence, out of these many strategies you must be taking care of all of them.
- Developing A Data Migration Strategy — Developing a data migration strategy is always left off towards the end of the project. But it can be very hard after all the customization and testing of the system is done. Thus it is very important to develop the data migration strategy before ERP selection.
It’s Never Too Early to Develop a Project Plan — Even before everything we should take the time to develop an ERP project plan.