Software selection is one of the most important parts of your ERP implementation. In this stage, you’ll meet with different vendors, learn about various platforms, and ultimately select the software that will help you meet your business goals.
While it’s natural to be excited about this step, rushing into the selection phase without devising a clear path for your project could set your team up for ERP failure.
However, by developing an ERP strategy, you can make sure everyone’s on the same page. Today, we’re sharing why this step is so important.
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What Does it Mean to Strategize Your ERP Project?
An ERP strategy is a roadmap that guides your software investment. By following a clear roadmap, you can define your organization’s short and long-term goals and the ways you will use ERP software to achieve them.
The result is the alignment of business and IT capabilities, where your IT budget is only spent on activities that create value for the business. With the right plan in place, you can make sure everyone is working toward defined business goals.
Key Components of a Successful ERP Strategy
Now that you know why an ERP strategy is so important, you might wonder what you need to include in yours. At the very minimum, it should include the following elements:
- Specific and measurable ERP implementation goals
- Your project budget
- A list of included workflows and business processes
- Your approach to organizational change management
- Information on training plans and resources
- Your anticipated deployment method
Note that you won’t have all these elements fully completed at the same time. For instance, you might brainstorm your goals before you choose a vendor. Or you may perform business process reengineering before you fine-tune your training plan.
Benefits of Developing an ERP Strategy
1. Conserve Time and Money
Without a dedicated plan in place, it’s easy to overspend on your project. It’s also easy to exceed your initial timeline.
In contrast, when you understand your goals, you’re more likely to stay within your established parameters. You’ll also be better equipped to handle complex negotiations and business requirements discussions as they occur.
2. Improve Your Competitive Stance
By developing a clearly-defined strategy before vendor selection, you will be more adept at identifying and selecting a vendor whose capabilities align with your requirements.
As a result, employees will be using the appropriate tools, making them more efficient and productive. As you save money, boost performance, and keep your customers happy, you’ll become more competitive in your field.
3. Ensure Organizational Alignment
It doesn’t make sense to invest in ERP features that don’t serve your business. When you have a strategy in place, you can ensure that you’re buying the capabilities that will help you reach your organizational goals.
Avoiding Bias and Adhering to Your ERP Strategy
As you approach the ERP selection phase, you’re bound to encounter vendors that seem to have your best interests at heart. They’ll lay out all the bells and whistles of their platform and convince you that their solution is the ultimate way to go.
They may even discourage you from considering any other options, including best-of-breed solutions that combine features from various systems.
Instead of playing along, you should refer to your ERP strategy. A few key questions to ask at this juncture include:
- What are our current IT competencies? Where do we want them to be down the road?
- Does this strategy align with and support our corporate objectives?
- What degree of change are we able to handle?
- How much time and money are we comfortable investing?
The vendor you select should be willing to listen to your needs and vision and should have the resources required to help you reach your short-term and long-term goals.
Position Your ERP Project for Success
It’s unwise to embark on a major enterprise software project without first developing an ERP strategy. With a clearly-defined strategy in place, problems like vendor bias, unrealistic timelines, and misalignment are less likely to occur.
Our team of ERP consultants can guide you in every stage of your project. Contact us below for a free consultation.