In our recently released 2011 Guide to ERP Systems and Vendors, I wrote a list of the top 20 tips I have collected over years of both participating in and observing ERP system implementations and other large IT projects. While I won’t go into the whole list here, I wanted to drill down into a few of the key points:

  • ERP software best practices and pre-configured solutions do not solve all of the challenges of ERP. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, best practices don’t mean squat when it comes to implementing a specific ERP system for a specific company. More and more, organizations are realizing that to achieve any sort of return on their technology investment, they need to make sure it fits the needs of their company – not whatever company implemented it “best” or served as the bellwether for its pre-configured settings.
  • The “A-Team” is critical to ERP success. If there is one thing your organization does right during its ERP implementation, make it choosing the best team possible. Give members the authority, the autonomy and the time to ensure that the project is done quickly and done well.
  • If your operations and your ERP system are misaligned, it’s probably not the software’s fault. It is absolutely crucial to define and document your operations prior to starting an ERP implementation. Business system blueprinting will help your company better know how to select its best-fit ERP software and whether – or how – to customize the solution once its purchased.
  • You don’t have to implement ERP all at once. Today we are seeing more and more organizations opt for a phased (or hybrid) approach to ERP system implementations over the “big bang” style favored in years past. This is often a much safer and more advisable way to approach the switchover and offers many benefits (e.g., allowing employees access to parts of the old system, determining flaws and glitches before going company-wide, etc.) that the big bang approach simply lacks.
  • ERP success and benefits realization are largely determined before the implementation starts. Many of the most important decisions about your ERP implementation are made before the software is even purchased. The previous bullet points offer ways to position your implementation for optimal success before starting the actual implementation (or maybe before even short-listing vendors): pick the right team, blueprint your processes, determine your needs, decide on areas of customization, choose a phased approach to implementation, etc. Don’t focus solely on the software selection or the implementation; focus instead on your business and how it’s best going to prepare for and take advantage of this momentous change.

To read the rest of the tips, please visit our resource center and download the free 2011 Guide to ERP Systems and Vendors (the tips are on page 15). Many of these topics also have been addressed in previous blog posts, so feel free to browse through or use the search bar to find topics that best match your specific queries.

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