Cloud technology can help you keep pace with the competition, unlock new efficiencies and enable real-time data insights. What’s the key to ensuring your solution helps you achieve all of these benefits? The key is using the right cloud ERP implementation methodology.
Cloud ERP Software vs On-premise ERP Software
On-premise ERP software is installed on your own servers and hardware. You internal IT department is responsible for managing security, data and backups.
On the other hand, cloud ERP systems are centrally managed by your ERP vendor. Your organization accesses the platform simply by logging into their platform.
What does this mean in terms of implementation? It means your business is free to focus on other ERP implementation steps including data migration, organizational change management and business process reengineering.
While cloud ERP implementations are typically faster than on-premise implementations, the universal aspects of implementation still apply. There are no implementation shortcuts.
Below, we’ve outlined the essential components of every ERP implementation, regardless of your deployment model.
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6 Components of an Effective Cloud ERP Implementation Methodology
1. Align Your Executive Team
First, make sure your project goals are clearly defined even before you begin ERP selection. While defining your goals, it’s important to seek input from a variety of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, executives and department leads.
As you work together to clearly define what you expect to get from your cloud-based ERP implementation, we recommend focusing on benefits realization management. This involves defining expected business benefits and developing a plan to get you there. It also means defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress.
2. Build an ERP Project Team
Any successful ERP implementation has a competent ERP project manager and project team at its core. This is especially the case with a cloud-based ERP project.
We recommend building an ERP project team that includes executives, employees and subject matter experts, each with defined roles and responsibilities.
As you task team members with overseeing various parts of the project, keep in mind that they will still have their day-to-day roles and responsibilities to attend to. While these duties are mission-critical, they can pull their attention away from the project. In response, you can create a plan to offload this work, which may mean temporarily backfilling their positions with short-term employees.
3. Focus on Change Management
Too often, companies focus reactively on organizational change management tactics, only implementing them at the end of their project when they find that user adoption rates are low, and pushback is high.
To avoid these circumstances, seek to make change management a priority from the very beginning. During the pre-implementation phase, you should develop a change management plan that outlines how you will facilitate employees’ transition to the new, cloud-based ERP system. This plan should define how you will communicate the changes and manage the inevitable change resistance.
When you focus on building change competency into your business from the beginning, you’re less likely to experience drops in productivity when the new system goes live.
4. Develop a Training Plan
Change management isn’t possible without a robust training plan. In fact, only informed and educated employees are likely to embrace cloud technology. This is especially important to remember if your employees are used to on-premise software systems.
As you develop your training plan, you should ensure it’s focused on business processes instead of system transactions. This ensures that employees understand the bigger picture behind the buttons they’re clicking.
5. Develop a Data Migration Strategy
Moving your data from your legacy, on-premise systems to a cloud-based environment requires a careful, step-by-step ERP data migration strategy. This process should ideally begin during the ERP implementation planning phase.
As part of your data migration strategy, you should determine what data needs to be cleansed. Data cleansing ensures your data is free of inaccuracies and duplications before it is moved over.
Despite your best efforts, you may not catch everything during data cleansing. This is why many companies perform a mock data migration to get a clearer view of how the real process will work and what issues you may encounter.
6. Test, Test, Test
System testing is an important part of any ERP system implementation. It becomes even more critical when you are changing deployment models or hosting environments and migrating your information to the cloud.
Before you begin ERP system testing, it’s important to ensure each test case is clearly defined in terms of inputs and expected results. This will help you prevent scope creep during the actual testing.
Finding Success with Cloud-based ERP Solutions
When implemented correctly, cloud-based ERP platforms can help your business run more efficiently. By following the cloud ERP implementation methodology described above, you can ensure a successful ERP implementation and avoid ERP failure.
Looking for support and guidance as your business takes the next step forward? Our ERP implementation consultants can help. Request a free consultation below.