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Lead Your Team for a Successful ERP Implementation (Part 1)
Companies justify moving to a standard enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution based on a number of compelling reasons. By supporting a single system rather than several smaller and disparate systems, they can enjoy economies of scale and a single application architecture with fewer user interfaces that creates lower integration costs.  And through common tasks automation (as well as easier access to more information), best practice systems and procedures allow for efficiencies not available when using multiple systems.

While the case for standardizing on a single ERP system can be relatively straightforward to make, the costs and impacts are sometimes easy to overlook.  In this series of blogs, we will review a number of factors to help ensure a successful implementation. These include:

1. Build a cross-functional team
2. Set proper expectations to manage change
3. Create new business processes in sync with the new system
4. Implement in a phased approach
5. Make the necessary time and financial investment

Addressing these areas early on in the process can be the deciding factor whether the ERP implementation is a success in the long run. This blog series will highlight recommendations and the importance of each of these factors, starting with the first-- building a cross-functional team.

Creating new business processes, determining the necessary reporting, and identifying possible software customizations require input from many areas of the organization. By building a cross-functional team, companies not only improve the likelihood that all areas of the business are addressed, but also help create buy-in that can drive the overall project’s success. All cross-functional teams should include certain key organizational functions such as: project management, IT, and executive management.

To successfully take on a new ERP system, an organization also needs to address its corporate culture, which can be best driven by executive management. Corporate culture is a combination of two things: the type of people who are employed by a company, including their personal values, skills, habits etc.; and the way the organization works, including the focus, decision making process, attitude towards its staff, stability, etc. Both feed off one another.
 
Due to the nature of an ERP system, organizations need to become almost obsessed with detail. They need to have business practices that are adhered to, rather than just being documented once and forgotten.  Employees also need to increase focus on profit and how the whole organization is impacted by their work, because ERP makes profit far more measurable, down to the department, customer, and material levels.  ERP requires employees to understand the “big picture” and how their individual areas have impact in places they may never have envisioned.  Employees can no longer just leave a problem for the next employee in the process because it makes their job easier, as ERP is truly a shared environment. 
 
Look forward to the next blog post on how to set proper expectations and manage change with your team.

Posted by Amy Baker, Manager, Product Marketing Epicor

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