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ERP Implementation Best Practices Success And Cautionary Tales?

erp implementation best practicesWhat ERP implementation best practices do you credit with great success and what errors and resulting horror stories have you seen and maybe made you wiser?


(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

Best practices:

Be sure your current system plus workarounds are fully documented so that you will be able to provide the desired business model mapping and transaction flow to the team.

Start with reporting. What reporting do you need. What detail level do you need? What are the actual desired report formats. Go all out and pull everything off the wish list for this. No one ever does this step first and it is the one one cause of cautionary tales. If you do not define the lowest level of detail required for reporting, you will not be able to design the transaction input to achieve that result.

Cautionary tales:

1. Over customization.
2. Lack of understanding of current processes.
3. Allowing difficult personalities to exist on the team.
4. Not matching the growth strategy for the company to the capabilities of the system.
5. Allowing ego to stall course corrections.

5 is a start.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Anonymous, if you haven't already, you should definitely get your free copy of Proformative's...
"ERP Selection & Implementation Guide"

I think you'd get a lot out of it.


Best... Sarah

Kelvin Arcelay
Title: SVP Security and Risk Management
Company: Private Company
(SVP Security and Risk Management, Private Company) |

In addition,

- Selection methodology
- Lack of "As-Is" vs "To-Be" analysis
- Scope and Plan
- Implementation Project Management
- Technology Selection and sizing
- Training and Documentation Strategy
- Post implementation support

Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

I would say, document, document, document!

I have managed or been a team member for about a dozen or so major software migrations including, but not limited to ERPs, Warehouse Management, financial consolidation, document retention, contract management, workflow management...etc.

The one constant is that software salesmen are like politicians, they will over promise, and under deliver everytime. If I got a dollar for everytime I got an implementation consultant to say "the program just can't do that" get the idea.

To be fair to those pedalling code, I think 90% of the over promise is just not understanding the real needs of the end-users. Typically internal IT will try to understand end-users needs, and then try to translate that to the software company. (Remember the game of "Telephone" from your childhood?) Lots of real needs slip through the cracks here. So, again, document everything you are asking for, and spell out very specifically what is or isn't "in-scope".

Also be prepared to run parrellel for at least a year. It often means some heavy stresses on your finance/accounting folks. So when you budget you many want to add a temp or two into the expenses to help manage the workload.

Good Luck! New ERPs are a wonderful thing once they are working properly.

Chuck Boecking
Title: Open Source ERP and Business Intelligenc..
Company: Chuck Boecking
(Open Source ERP and Business Intelligence, Chuck Boecking) |

It has been said that ERP products are highly commoditized, and that finding the right integrator is the biggest key to success. I am inclined to agree.

An experienced consultant (or team) solves a good majority of problems in an ERP implementation. You want someone who has been there... and done that... 20+ times for your specific situation. You situation consists of your industry, your company size, your unique needs.

Treat interviewing your consultant/integrator like interviewing a job candidate. If you are a manager in job interview, which would you rather hear? "This what I did.." or "This is what I would do...". Historically, vendors like Microsoft and SAP would distribute leads based on geographic location. This is a big mistake. In today's world, a New York based integrator can teach, configure and audit an ERP system anywhere in North America effectively.

A good integrator will verbalize the warning signs early on.
* Lack of commitment from executive personnel - this closely relates to budget expectations (expected and contingency).
* Poor ROI - Inability or lack of value to overcome the cost and risk of the implementation.
* Lack of internal horsepower - you cannot understand or complete your assigned tasks. ERP implementation for a $40M company consumes about 20 internal hours per day if you do it correctly!!!
* Inaccurate scope - Just because you tell someone something on a given day does not mean that they learned it, can repeat it, or teach others. ERP is big change initiative! Changing behavior take about three times as long you expect.
* Lack of insight - You do not know what you do not know. This where the above document, document, document comment really plays an import role. The single best documentation efforts you can complete are (1) scenario documents and (2) Ops manuals/videos. The scenario documents help create training, quizzes and certifications. The ops manual/videos help you efficiently re-teach.

Here is an article that states the common pitfalls better than I can:

In my humble opinion, the pain associated with a bad implementation is never worth the money derived from the project.

I hope this helps!

Chuck Boecking

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

Both Chuck's have great points. Don't become enamored of the salesman!

At the large pink wireless carrier - they were lulled into a sales pitch where every answer was yes but the real answer was yes-if you can handle this yourself. If not every change was a 50K add on.

Be sure to put in writing that you will receive the database map, and the table/field liabrary, otherwise you will be locked into never ending consulting for report development.

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