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Many organizations look to the New Year as a way to begin their ERP implementations. New budgets and focus are often a great way to start these important initiatives.

On the flip side, you want to make sure that you, your team and the overall organization is ready for what this new initiative will entail. Many are unprepared for the level of focus, resources and time that are required to make an implementation successful. This could be part of the reason why so many projects fail, according to our 2015 ERP Report.

There are a few basic things that you can do now to ensure that your ERP project is ready to begin in the New Year:

Do your operational legwork so your team can hit the ground running. For many, the start of the year can be slow going as team members get refocused after the holiday season. This can make starting a new project at the beginning of the year difficult, so it is often helpful to start planning and preparation well before the New Year. For example, doing preliminary research on ERP vendors, documenting basic and known business requirements and beginning to mobilize internal and external project resources can go a long way to building momentum once the project starts in earnest.

Define your overall ERP strategy and plan during relatively slow times. It’s hard to be successful without a solid and well-thought-out ERP strategy and overall plan. The holidays can provide relatively quiet times to stop and think about how you would like your ERP implementation to look next year, rather than jumping off the starting line without a solid plan in place. Defining which strategic paths make the most sense to your organization will help ensure that appropriate resources are mobilized and the team has the right focus as the project ramps up in coming weeks and months. For example, is cloud or on premise most appropriate for you? Larger tier I system or a best-of-breed solution? Gather more ideas by viewing our on-demand webinar, How to Define the Best Enterprise Strategy Roadmap for Your Organization.

Look for leftover funds in this year’s budget to further invest in success. Most organizations have difficulty allocating sufficient funds to their ERP implementations to begin with, so every bit helps. If you have some IT and operations budget left in the current year (assuming your fiscal year coincides with the calendar year), then you may want to consider investing in activities that will increase your odds of success. Hiring independent ERP consultants to recommend the right software or hiring organizational change management consultants to assess your organization’s overall readiness for a new ERP system can go a long way toward enhancing your chances of success – well before the project officially kicks off.

Define your organizational change management plan. It’s never too early to start organizational change management. In fact, no matter how much you do, you will absolutely feel as though it still wasn’t enough. With this in mind, you can start by kicking off critical organizational change activities that will help remove some of the organizational pressure once the implementation begins in earnest. For example, conducting an initial organizational readiness assessment, stakeholder analysis or communications plan will ensure that you have the right focus on this critical success factor as your project ramps up. Learn more about potential organizational change activities that you could be starting now by viewing our on-demand webinar, Five Key Organizational Change Management Challenges With ERP Implementations.

The real work may not start until the New Year, but you can directly and indirectly increase your chances of success now. Given the fact that most ERP implementations take longer than expected and cost more than expected, every little bit of preparation you can do now will only help.

Get a head start by registering for our ERP Boot Camp, December 9-11 in Anaheim, CA.

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