We have published several pieces on what it takes to turn an ERP system purchase into a successful ERP implementation. However, there are several small details that our clients often forget. All of the details, although they seem minor in nature, can add up to big delays, cost overruns, and functionality gaps.
Three Important Areas to Focus on When Implementing New ERP Systems
- Reporting. Many companies assume that their chosen ERP system is going to have the reporting functionality required to meet their business requirements. The fact of the matter is that most companies spend very little time evaluating reporting capabilities when reviewing software options. The irony here, of course, is that systems are only as good as the data you can get out of them, and it can be very frustrating to management if they aren’t able to access key operating and financial information that they need. Therefore, it is very important to address reporting not only as part of the software evaluation process, but also as part of the early project planning activities. Many of our larger clients have entire teams devoted to developing reporting requirements. A project focuses on effective business reporting also enables successful ERP benefits realization.
- Business Process Development and Training. Many of our publications highlight the importance of organizational change management and training, but there is more to it than teaching employees how to use the new system. Employees also have to be educated on how new business processes will function and how their jobs will change in the new software environment. Even more importantly, ERP project teams need to map out future business processes to ensure that they have addressed gaps between the current environment and the new ERP environment. This will ensure that either processes are changed to meet the software’s functionality, or vice versa.
- Software Security. Despite the impact Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) has had on large, public, US-based companies, many companies that are required to comply with SOX still overlook the importance of defining, developing, and testing security profiles in their new ERP systems. At some point, whether it be during functional or integration test, user profiles need to be tested to ensure employees have the appropriate level of access. It is also recommended that your Internal Audit group be involved in defining and testing these security roles.
These are just a few examples of items that are important, but easy to overlook. ERP projects can be very complex, and losing sight of these details can lead to unplanned costs and time delays.