Following are 10 tips for successfully selecting and implementing an ERP system.
1. Choose the right product – the right balance of flexibility, reliability, functionality,
focus (on your specific industry) of pre-designed processes – is essential if the
team is to have any chance of delivering against the business case. This means
having the right selection process and going beyond “tick box” analysis.
2. Choose the right implementation partner. There are many roles to fulfill within the
project requiring different skill levels and understanding. It is often better to have a
mix of skills, experience and rates to match to the level and complexity of each
deliverable. You need to look realistically at the support you need, technical,
application, business, change, process – most companies will need partners in
more than one area. Note that the right partner might be someone other than the
3. Be ruthlessly commercial about your selection, negotiation and contracts.
Commercials are far more important here than the finite legal position (which will
almost certainly be that any liability on the vendor will be dependent upon you
proving that you did everything you were expected to do – which believe me is
more difficult than it sounds). The more you can document in terms of risk
mitigation and shared liability for project over-runs the better the working
4. Vendor management is key – while vendors are your partner in the project, you
should never forget they have their own drivers, wants and needs. You will both
want a “successful” project but their definition of success will be very different to
5. Aim for the right goals – make sure you have a vision for where the system will be
after the initial phase, after two years and after five years. Be realistic about how
much you can implement at the outset and how much change your organization
can take before it breaks. Buy for the future state, while bearing in mind you will
never get the same discount on any software modules.
6. Use a third party to help with selection, planning, progress management, change
management and dispute resolution. Most people only do one or two ERP
implementations in their career – spending money with people who have
completed dozens or hundreds is always worthwhile.
7. If you have an ERP project that is off track, get the project reviewed and take
advice as early as possible – the faster you understand where you are and how to
get control, the more likely it is you will turn the situation around.
8. Use a tool to manage information, project milestones, budgets, resource allocation
and time/materials bookings. You need to know exactly where you are in the
project and how much time and money you have spent to date in order to predict
the cost and timeline of the entire project.
9. Review and update the business case regularly – as you move through the project
you will find items that will boost your ROI, and you will find items that will increase
your costs. Being up-to-speed with this situation will help if you need to negotiate
with the CFO regarding re-shaping the budget.
10. Maintain constant senior management involvement. Support goes beyond what
you say. As mentioned earlier, this project will affect every part of your
organization. The risks in getting it wrong are immense and cost of losing control is