An enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation is a very complex project. In fact, some are surprised to learn that it can take many weeks or even several months to implement and deploy this kind of enterprise software platform. But when you consider the highly-customized nature of ERP systems, it logically follows that implementation would take a fair amount of time.
A successful and efficient ERP implementation process demands the right tech talent and specialists. This is not a project that can be handled in-house since you need some highly-specialized experts who can oversee various aspects and phases of the ERP implementation process. Company leaders are often uncertain where to begin and who to hire, so let’s look at the ERP roles that will ensure a successful ERP implementation from start to finish.
Hiring an ERP Consultant Before You Begin the Implementation Process
An ERP consultant should be the first hire you consider as you set off down the path toward a new enterprise software platform. They can be very helpful in guiding you through the selection process for a new ERP software platform, offering useful insights that would otherwise remain elusive. The enterprise software selection process can be very overwhelming due to the sheer number of options and the high stakes. You cannot simply ask for a refund if you discover that a particular software platform fails to meet your needs as expected. There is a significant investment involved as you configure, implement, train for and deploy an ERP platform, so you need to get it right the first time around. An ERP consultant will ensure that this is exactly what happens.
Once you have selected a platform, ERP consultants play a critical role in all phases of the ERP implementation and deployment process. They will help guide you as you select an implementation partner. If necessary, they can assist you in filling other critical roles, such as data migration experts, integration specialists and an ERP training team.
Moreover, an ERP consultant serves as an informed, knowledgeable guide who will guard your interests from start to finish. This maximizes your chances of success with a healthy ROI, while simultaneously minimizing the chance that you will encounter nasty pitfalls and snares.
Hiring Data Migration Experts for an ERP Implementation Project
Data migration is among the most complex aspects of an ERP implementation project, coming in right behind integrations. Many companies will opt to shift their data storage to the cloud as they implement a new ERP platform and it’s a great opportunity. But the potential for mishaps is significant if you don’t have experienced data management experts on-hand.
Data is often a company’s most valuable asset and you need to have confidence in the integrity of that data. Data is virtually useless if you cannot trust that it is accurate and uncorrupted. Yet during the data migration process, the potential for corruption, data loss and other damage is tremendous. This is one part of the project that demands a specialist who can oversee data migration. In some cases, an ERP implementation partner may bring in their own data migration experts; in other instances, the client is tasked with staffing this role. Whatever the case, this is a must-have role for your enterprise software implementation project. If your data is at the core of your company’s operations, it doesn’t hurt to bring in your own data management expert to supplement and assist the implementation partner’s resources.
Hiring Integration Specialists for an ERP Implementation Project
Integrations — whether it is with a third-party platform or another enterprise system within your IT landscape — add loads of complexity to the ERP implementation process. These integrations are often mission-critical, facilitating the exchange of data between multiple systems.
A single department or division module may require a dozen integrations and an ERP may have 5, 10 or more modules. So this task is not only a complex one; it can be a rather large undertaking too.
Virtually all ERP implementation partners will bring their own integration specialists to the table, but supplementation with additional resources can help speed the process. Most would agree that this is a possibility that is worth exploring. Sometimes, adding additional resources can complicate matters, while in other cases, you can boost efficiency and productivity by pulling in an extra specialist to assist with your ERP integrations.
Hiring ERP Training Specialists to Ensure a Smooth Software Deployment
ERP implementation and deployment projects are complicated by the fact that you are merging multiple enterprise software systems into a single, centralized platform. An ERP software system will feature modules for multiple departments and divisions within a company, including finance and accounting, sales and marketing, human resources, inventory and logistics, CRM functionalities and more. This means that most or even all of your company’s employees will be impacted by the deployment of this new enterprise software system. It is an understatement to say that the potential for downtime and outright chaos is tremendous. This underscores the need for preparation and training.
Some ERP implementation partners will come in with their own training team, but others leave it to the client to arrange their own training sessions. If this is the case, then you will need to select a training team that specializes in the platform that you have selected.
Training typically begins once the ERP platform is fully configured, just before deployment. But you should not wait until that point to select and hire an ERP training partner. A solid training strategy is essential because you want to minimize the impact on productivity and operations as a whole. Remember, you may be tasked with training hundreds or even thousands of users, which is no small feat. You need a good training plan and that will take a bit of time to develop. Therefore, it is critical that you select an ERP training team as soon as possible. In fact, your ERP consultant will be a valuable resource in helping you to select the right specialists to guide your staff toward success with this new enterprise software system.
A smooth and successful ERP deployment is no small task. But if you have the right strategy and the right specialists working on your side, you can expect to see major benefits and a healthy ROI. At Cox-Little, we have extensive experience in the realm of ERP implementations and deployments. Contact Cox-Little to learn more about how our talented team will collaborate to bring your ERP deployment to the finish line with minimum stress and maximum ROI.