ERP, over the last few decades, has done wonders for many businesses. First seen in the 1960s, ERP has allowed companies to implement systems that create automated shortcuts for pretty much every aspect of the business, from sales to payroll. But implementing ERP doesn’t always mean that you are running your company perfectly, in fact, there are plenty of stumbling blocks that can be encountered along the way if ERP isn’t implemented correctly.
Local or Cloud?
One of the first stumbling blocks many companies face is whether to implement ERP using an on-premise solution, or having a cloud-based one instead. For larger corporations having on-premise systems can seem like a more reasonable option, but for SMBs and MSBs, the likelihood is that your IT department isn’t robust enough for on-premise solutions. This doesn’t mean that your business shouldn’t go down this route, but it does mean that those who do, will need to have an IT department that can keep on top of things. Servers need to be up-to-date, hardware needs to be in-house, and upfront costs will be large. Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, are much easier to maintain without the need to create a large IT team to keep the ‘tech wheels oiled’and have relatively small upfront costs.
Managing expectations should also be at the forefront of your mind when implementing such a platform. ‘Off the shelf’ ERP packages still don’t completely join the dots in a company and won’t solve processes such as international payroll, so before choosing which route to take, make sure that all of your departments have their needs met. Having said that, you shouldn’t simply select the ERP system that has the longest list of features either. Features are important, but not nearly as important as customization, and integration ability. If you find a solution that meets your needs, integrates with your current set up nicely and will allow you to grow without much friction, then you have an ERP worth investing in.
Making Sure Everyone Is On The Same Page
When initially implementing ERP, it is crucial to make sure all departments and all end-users, are aware of how this will change their workflow. When done correctly, the transition should be smooth, but leaving a department out of the loop, or not addressing concerns of a team member can cause you serious headaches in the long run. Having a good ERP system in place will give you access to powerful amounts of data, but a weak link in the chain will cause discrepencies that could set you back in your mission to automate your systems. Take things slowly, address all concerns, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Once your ERP system is up and running, it is crucial to make sure it is sufficiently maintained. For in-house ERP solutions, this is absolutely crucial, but even cloud-based solutions need to be tended to from time to time. Outdated ERP systems can mean that your company is at risk from data breaches and security holes, which in the current climate is no laughing matter. A company with an outdated system is gold-dust to the ‘bad guys’ out there, and as such it pays to make sure your workplace is one of the more difficult businesses to crack open.
Slow And Steady Rollouts
Finally, it is worth noting that you don’t always have to implement the entire ERP solution at once. ERP systems are complex, and the chances are, that you will not think of all of your implementation needs until you have already gone ‘live’. Because of this, it can be beneficial to take a step-by-step approach, making sure the system works well in one department and is understood by all those who use it, and then rolling it out to another department. ‘Slow and sure wins the race’ as the saying goes.
To conclude, ERP systems can be hugely beneficial to a company, but the transition to using such systems needs to be managed correctly. With so many options available, there is sure to be an ERP solution that covers all of your particular needs, the key is to make sure it is implemented properly. Choose the right system, roll it out slowly, make sure your employees know how it works, and then you can sit back and reap the rewards.