Businesses looking to implement an ERP solution may or may not be aware of the many different aspects to consider in order to ensure a successful delivery.

I have written many articles on the reasons for success and failure of ERP projects.

I have included analysis of Cloud vs On-premise ERP and several other considerations. For small to medium sized businesses there is one, not often discussed factor, which jumps out at me when we debate the success of ERP projects.

 

Internal “muscle” required to implement an ERP solution

 

Here is what I mean by internal “muscle”. Every business will need the following internal resources allocated to the ERP implementation project to complement the efforts of your ERP development partner:

  • Internal accounting skills
  • Internal project management
  • Availability of company resource
  • Company sponsorship from C-level executives

If you are a small to medium sized business and you want to move off your entry level accounting solution to an ERP solution then consider your internal resource and capacity as an important factor to ensure a positive ERP Return on Investment.

To clarify – I am not talking about large business ERP implementations. I am referring to smaller businesses embarking on their first ERP project. These projects typically take 4-6 months to implement.

The point to be made is not that you require teams of people to implement an entry level ERP solution. The point is that you can’t allocate no internal resource to an ERP implementation.

Most small to medium sized businesses will not be able to allocate full time resource to the ERP project. In most cases a financial controller is doubling up as a project manager or super user for the duration of the ERP implementation. For smaller ERP implementations, this works.

What does not work is either the allocation of no internal resource (part time or otherwise) to the project or the implementation of ERP without internal systems, process and the right people. You can’t expect to successfully implement an ERP solution if you don’t have proper internal processes and people.

For example, if your business does not have an internal accountant with the skill set to work with an ERP team and articulate what the chart of accounts should look like then you might be heading for trouble. The setup of the chart of accounts is only one simple example of a challenge that you will face if you don’t have the required internal skill set to implement ERP solution.

 

Let’s focus our attention on what is required to successfully implement an ERP solution

Resources need to implement an ERP solution successfully

A full time, internal, accountant. If you do not have the services of a full-time accountant to do your internal accounting, then you are most likely not ready for a full ERP implementation.

Business process mapping. If you are embarking on the implementation of an ERP solution you should have already mapped out your business processes. There is very little point implementing an ERP solution if you don’t have your internal processes mapped out and formalized.

Access to internal resource for the ERP implementation. If you are implementing an ERP solution it is highly likely that you will use the services of an ERP reseller or implementation partner. The company that you choose will have responsibility for the overall implementation of the ERP solution. However, there is a responsibility on you, the customer, to be involved at every step of the way. This requires resource and time.

Super users. Every well implemented ERP solution needs internal “super users” to keep the system running fluently. These super users take responsibility for basic admin tasks, first line user assistance and training.

Data. You will need to get deeply involved in your ERP implementation data conversion process. This takes time (and knowledge of your data). Think of the time taken to export data from legacy systems, change data formats, test data after upload and reconcile with legacy data. Even with a lot of assistance from your ERP partner you will need time and people to make these changes happen.

Train the trainer. Most ERP resellers are going to want to train the senior team members in your organization and then ask that these super users train other team members.

User acceptance testing. A critically important part of any ERP implementation. You will need to develop (together with your ERP implementation partner) test scripts. There will need to be a format for testing, time assigned to conducting UAT and checking the results.

Project management. Even with Project Management provided by your ERP implementation partner you will need to provide your own internal Project Management resources. These internal resources will be required to deliver internal Project Management, communication and structure between your organisation and the ERP implementation partner.

 

Conclusion

Leverage Technologies have worked on ERP implementations since 2005 and delivered slutions to more than 250 clients around Australia. From our experience, every project requires internal work from the business to ensure successful delivery.

The amount of “internal muscle” that you need to deliver an ERP project will depend on the size and complexity of the implementation.

Another factor will be budget. If you are willing to spend the money a lot of the above-mentioned tasks can be outsourced to your ERP implementation partner.

Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments below!