ERP Implementation can be a complex process affecting numerous firms. Any large project requires enterprise implementation plans. The goal is to design and implement it in phases with clear objectives in order to maximize business success.
In contrast, failing to establish a defined project goal, structure, and scope before dividing an ERP Implementation might lead to major complications later on.
Organizations must know that selecting the best ERP Software System takes effort and research. Aside from ERP Software product selection, the implementation process is equally, if not more, important. A great product can fail if its execution is poor, whereas an ordinary product with excellent implementation can add significant value to the organization.
Organizations must have a clear roadmap for different phases of ERP Implementation since it is a long process and can be tough if they lack a comprehensive understanding of all its phases. As a result, it is critical for any project that an organization takes the appropriate steps at the appropriate time.
A business's sales, manufacturing, marketing, human resources, and financial management departments are all combined by an ERP Software System to boost production and efficiency. Deploying, designing, and configuring an ERP is all part of the process. Because an Intelligent ERP automates and supports multiple functions, this procedure is complex and generally takes months.
To guarantee a successful installation, businesses must carefully identify the requirements, decide on the redesign process to take advantage of the system, set up the ERP system to support these processes, and rigorously test it before making it available to users. To successfully navigate all of these processes, preparation and an organized and staged implementation approach are required.
Generally, at this stage, the vendor team gives a presentation to the client on the steps of ERP Implementation and provides the road map. During this stage, the Project Implementation team is introduced to the client’s team. Generally, till this point, only the sales team would have interacted with an ERP Selection Team on the client’s side. A kick-off team is vital as the ERP Implementation process is an enterprise-wide initiative and all the departmental heads/key users have to be made aware of the reason the Company is going ahead with the deployment of the ERP Software System. Thus, Kick-off also forms a communication exercise and sets the right expectations.
This phase entails gathering and creating Master Data. The vendor provides an appropriate Excel format for the master data collection. The client is then responsible to collect data linked to the company's chart of accounts, final product, raw materials buyers, and vendor list, among other things, for this reason. This data is later imported into the ERP Software System, reducing the number of entries required by the client. The migration is often done for Master Data only because the migration of transactions is a difficult and time-consuming procedure. The data must be reviewed by the Client's Central Coordinator for any errors before the final migration.
In this phase, the Vendor team understands the Client’s Business Process and starts mapping the business process into the ERP Software System. Once the Business Process Mapping is completed, the Client SPOC needs to sign off the processes to be configured into the ERP Software System. Once Signed off, the document is considered as the ‘Frozen Scope’ for Delivery.
The vendor configures the client's requirements into their Intelligent ERP based on ‘Frozen Scope’. At this point, the client may be required to make certain changes to their processes in order to map them to the world's best business practices, which are typically included as part of an ERP like ebizframe Intelligent ERP. Some adaptations may be required for some of the client's Business Critical Requirements that cannot be configured, assuming they are viable from the vendor's product side. The user level and transaction level security are also configured based on the roles that a user is expected to perform.
The client should be ready with the required infrastructure (Hardware, Supporting Software, and Internet ) before the software Installation. The vendor team will install the software in the central server (on-premise/ cloud) provided by the client. On completion of the installation, the client team is required to provide the sign-off document to the vendor.
Once the client provides the sanitized and approved Master Data to the vendor on the shared templates. This data is then uploaded to the system by the Vendor. This phase is vital for the smooth running of the software.
Client identifies 1 or 2 champion users from each department to be trained on ERP Software System and to perform User Acceptance Test (UAT) exercise. These champion users are trained by the vendor team on usage of ERP Software Systems usability.
This phase of the ERP Implementation, life cycle plays an important role in determining whether the system’s functionalities align with the agreed requirements. The Champion users do the UAT as per the Test Data and Test Scripts provided by them. At the UAT stage, there could be some fine-tuning to the ERP Software System as the users may come out with some finer points when they actually start running the system. Generally, the UAT is done with the Champion Users (Key Users) and is done on the Test Servers.
The new end users are required to get accustomed to the new system, and for that, they must be taught to use the ERP effectively. In this phase of ERP Implementation, training is provided to the end users. This can either be done by the vendor or by the Champion Users. If the Champion Users do the training, it is a good practice as this also helps in internal capacity building and reduces the organization’s dependence on the Vendor for further training activities.
Before the system is made “Live” it is important that the necessary checks are done within the organization for the Go-Live. This includes Software sign-offs from the Users, Hardware/Network readiness at each point of usage at each location, availability of necessary resources, etc. The ERP Software is then deployed on the Live Server. Normally, most organizations choose to Go-Live at one location first and then do successive roll-outs to other locations. This helps contain the initial teething problems to just one location and ensures minimum disruptions during the Roll-out.
In this stage, the company migrates completely from the old system to the new ERP System. This phase of the ERP Implementation life cycle allows users to work on the application software with real-time data. Some organizations choose to run the legacy system in parallel for some time along with the new software. This gives them the comfort that the new system is working perfectly.
During this phase, there could be some teething troubles as for users it’s a new system and they may make some mistakes or may not have a 100% understanding of the system. At this stage, the ERP Implementation vendors normally provide extensive hand-holding support (either onsite or remotely) so that any such issues are addressed immediately.
The final phase of ERP Implementation includes keeping a close watch on the performance of the ERP System. Periodic maintenance is provided for the smooth functioning of the system. The client is notified of the New Releases, along with the enhancements and fixes done on the previous versions. Generally, all ERP software vendors have comprehensive Post Implementation Support Policies and it is recommended that the Client enters into an Annual Maintenance and Support Agreement with the vendor.
ERP Implementation can be a daunting task, but by breaking it down into smaller phases, you can make the process much more manageable. By following these 12 key phases of ERP implementation, you can ensure that your project stays on track and that your final product is a success.