What CEOs should know about ERP implementation
CHOOSING the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool is one of the most crucial investment choices to make for a business. Given the size of the investment, it’s also an important decision for you as a CEO.
Picking out something for your organization, even if it’s from the stable of an established corporate software provider, will require a fair amount of deliberation.
Everyone will tell you that you need a strategy to pick out the one that’s right, you’ll need the right resources to tailor and customize it for your business, and that you’ll need a whole lot of time to get it embedded into your workflow. But is that all? Is there anything you need to know before you think about the right ERP for your company?
Here are some things we think you should keep in mind before you make that decision:
An ERP tool is a business Swiss army knife, but not a genie
The job of an ERP tool is to help you manage your resources appropriately. It’s going to give you all the information you need to handle your business.
It’s going to organize your company resources in a way that helps you optimize them with ease. It’s going to do all of that, but nothing more.
Too many SMEs feel that an ERP tool is the solution to all their problems, and are disappointed when they realize it isn’t after sinking in all the money, time, and energy setting it up.
As a CEO, go in with realistic expectations. Ask vendors all the questions to understand what your new ERP tool can do, and then make a decision.
You’ve got to plan how you’ll communicate the news to the team
Implementation is one thing. User adoption is another. Even if you make the expenditure necessary to procure and implement an ERP system for your business, you’ll only benefit from it when your team uses it.
Adoption is not only a challenge because it’s something new, it’s also because people don’t know what to do with it, how to use it, and what it can actually help them achieve.
They don’t know these things because they’re not likely to be as involved with the project as you and your team. But if you tell them, they’re likely to understand, use it, and perhaps even love it.
So, as a CEO, before you embark on your ERP journey, setting up a communication plan might be a good first step.
Customizing your tool can create unnecessary headaches in the future
Your company has set up processes and has gotten used to them. You think it’ll be easier to get your new ERP tool customized, compared to getting your people to change a few things here and there?
Experts say it won’t, not in the long term at least.
In the long term, you’ll need to upgrade your ERP, you’ll need to get add-ons to help comply with new regulations, and you’ll need to grow. And a customized ERP will make it difficult, if not impossible, to do any of those things.
So, have a think. And spend some time discussing with specialists, your team, and the vendors, about what would be the best way forward for you and your business.