iStock_000022544544_Medium (2)You’re getting close to your “go or no-go” date, but how do you know if your organization is really ready? It’s easy to get ahead of yourself in anticipation of all the potential business benefits you will receive from your new ERP system, and it’s not uncommon to forget the fundamental ERP project tasks that will ensure a successful launch. Following the adage of “perfect planning prevents poor performance,” it is imperative to be disciplined throughout the implementation process and allow enough time to see each step through to completion. Far too often, organizations set an overly aggressive timeline for their ERP implementations and don’t invest in the steps necessary to prepare for go-live. While no go-live is perfect, organizations that take a strategic approach to ERP implementation significantly increase the odds of a successful launch. To prepare for a successful go-live there are a number of items that must be addressed and completed in advance. Following is a partial list:

  1. A clear strategy for why you are implementing ERP and a direct link back to the organizational growth strategies, vision and culture
  2. Standardization and updating of current business processes throughout the enterprise
  3. Implementation of updated processes that reside outside of the ERP system
  4. Engagement of end-users in requirements gathering and process mapping
  5. An integrated communications plan
  6. Change agents
  7. Visible and active senior leadership engagement and sponsorship
  8. Organizational readiness research with employees
  9. A comprehensive business case, ROI and benefits realization plan
  10. Key performance indicators (KPIs) by functional area with end-user input. These are vital for understanding whether or not you are achieving expected business benefits
  11. A detailed budget, including line items for contingency expenses
  12. A dedicated, cross-functional project team with adequate back-fill
  13. A comprehensive training strategy for the new ERP system and a feedback loop
  14. Input from key customers and vendors

Each one of these factors will have a significant impact on your level of project and business risk and will ultimately influence go-live and ERP success. In the grand scheme of things, spending the additional time and money will pay huge dividends once you are up-and-running with your new ERP system.

Preparing for a successful go-live is in everyone’s best interest, clear down to the end-users who will ultimately determine your level of ERP success.

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