Maybe it’s not grammatically correct, but “gotchas” are those little mistakes that sneak up on you and ultimately ruin the project you’re working on. I think we’ve all had our fair share of “gotcha” moments and in turn, have learned from them. We at Sikich have experienced a few ERP implementation “gotchas” with our clients and have summed it up into the five most common below. Read on to learn from others’ experiences and how to avoid those dreaded “gotcha” moments.
Gotcha Moment #1: Turnover of Key Employees
Employee turnover is not always something you can control; however it is important to be aware of how it can really affect software implementation in a negative way. For example, if the main contact on the implementation project is new to budgeting and doesn’t know your company well enough, you will not gain the full benefits of the system. This employee does not have the background knowledge needed to know what your company needs. In short, implementation is just not a good time to add employees.
Gotcha Moment #2: Insufficient Training
Many of our clients try to save money by doing their own training in house. This has proven to be a mistake as they don’t have the necessary time and resources while they still try to run their business. It’s important for companies to take the training portion of implementation seriously. Listen to your partner in what they require for an optimal training program. We have found that simply showing the application is not as effective as giving users hands on experience. The best training scenario is when each user has their own workstation, access to ERP system, and access to the internet. The room should be well-lit, equipped with projector and there should be enough workstations for each user. Users should also come prepared for the training if any pre-requisite homework is given. Taking training seriously is the first step to fully leveraging your ERP system, ultimately increasing your ROI.
Gotcha Moment #3: Irregular Communication
Because most companies are business as usual during implementations, weekly project status meetings are a must. Regular core communications with key individuals for 30 minutes to an hour sets the stage for expectations and ensures you stick to your timeline and budget. We review budget vs. actual spend every week with our clients so that nothing unexpected sneaks up on them. We also review positives, negatives, and what to expect in the weekly meetings. This allows everyone to be on the same page and streamlines the entire implementation project.
You also need to effectively communicate across different departments. Your IT department may not realize the struggle to get financial reports out the door so you should clearly state the pains experienced with every department so that everyone is on board. One of our clients was resistant to change and was the VP of sales which greatly affected the success rate of their implementation. The VP didn’t attend implementation meetings and the entire company was affected because he was not on board from the start.
Gotcha Moment #4: Vague Project Requirements
If you are not completely upfront with your business needs, your implementation partner cannot understand exactly what you need. It’s important to appreciate the value in the scoping process where your partner reviews your business thoroughly. Some of our clients get frustrated with having to share information during the sales process and then again during implementation, but it’s going into a deeper level of understanding and ultimately defining how effective your software solution can be for you. Be clear on your project and budget requirements so everyone is on the same page. We at Sikich have a regimented scope process with multiple phases so your solution can actually go live on the date planned and within budget.
Gotcha Moment #5: Inaccurate Expectations
Most clients want to get their projects done in a hurry to save money, time, and get on with more streamlined business processes. Although the idea of this is great, it’s important not to set your expectations at an unrealistic level that puts stress on you, your employees, and your business. You and your employees still need to do your own jobs while the implementation is in process. Making sure the software does what you need it to do is what you need to keep in mind as you run into detours along the way.
There’s no doubt about it; an ERP implementation is a huge undertaking and one that requires patience. Patience throughout the entire process will ensure the above “gotcha” moments won’t ruin your implementation. Do your research and find a partner with a project methodology and experience you can trust. Find out more about our implementation methodology on our website.
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