15
Mon, Apr
7 New Articles

How to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP)

Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Once your business has decided to switch to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system, the next step is to implement ERP. For a business to see the benefits of an ERP adoption it must first be deployed properly and efficiently by a team that typically includes a project manager and department managers as well.

This process can be complicated and feel overwhelming, depending on the needs of your organization. However, once new software is implemented successfully, organizations will ideally see the increases in productivity and cost savings benefits an ERP system can bring to your business. The switch to an ERP system can streamline your business needs and be beneficial to both the end user and entire organization.

Steps to implement ERP 

Below is a breakdown of a step-by-step ERP implementation plan. We’ll start by going through what organizations should do prior to choosing an ERP system and then dive into best practices for implementation success.

1. Discover and plan to implement ERP

Before the ERP implementation process can occur, an organization must assess how its current systems are functioning. This is the first step to a successful enterprise resource planning integration and must be completed prior to choosing an ERP software.

In the first step of this implementation methodology, an organization must review the current system and processes to get a full picture of how the business is working and where there might be pitfalls. In this step, an ERP implementation project team should also be established for decision-making purposes. Areas to assess can include, financial, manufacturing, inventory, sales and more. This step will also be important to understand gaps and current issues, such as process inefficiencies and potential requirements for the ERP system.

Once the review of the organization’s current system, workflow, and everyday functions are assessed it’s time to select the right ERP system that meets your business requirements, such as budget forecasting and pricing. An ERP software can be acquired in this first step if the requirements have been well-defined. These requirements will depend on if an organization uses ERP system on-premises or in the cloud ERP.

A change to a modern ERP system can be very straight forward if there is a clear roadmap and project plan for your ERP deployment. A clear and honest conversation with employees will ensure organizational buy in.

Questions to ask as you define the scope of your organization’s needs:

  • What business functions will be automated by the ERP software?
  • What are the ERP system’s specific data requirements and is it compatible?
  • Which key performance indicators (KPIs) need to be tracked?
  • Is the software scalable and flexible enough to evolve with the organization’s needs?
  • What is the timeframe for implementation and deployment?

2. Create a design and prepare to implement

At this point you’ve chosen the ERP system for your business. The next step is the design phase. This is the step to configure the ERP software solution so it fits your organization’s specific needs.

A new design requires change management to make more efficient workflows, along with the potential need for new business processes that are a better fit with the soon-to-be implemented ERP system. It’s important to have a team within the organization dedicated to this design step and determining an appropriate plan.

Steps to configure the ERP system:

  • Create an organizational structure by defining all the necessary aspects of your business, such as the chart of accounts, cost centers and business units.
  • Customize your ERP software so that it aligns with the existing workflows in place and set up the modules you think your organization will need, such as customer relationship management (CRM), human resources and supply chain management.
  • Set the parameters for user roles and permissions so that you can control everyone’s access across the system and make sure data controls are put in place.
  • Integrate ERP software with other existing systems within your organization like accounting software, inventory management and e-commerce platforms if they apply.

3. Migrate and development

Once the design requirements have been established, the development phase can begin. This involves the customization of the software so that the redesign can occur. The development, or preparation, stage is vital and can be a daunting task; but if done properly, it could help your ERP system function for the long-term.

You have established a redesign, now it’s time to clean and format the current system’s data so that it’s compatible with the new system. In this step, an organization will need to assess and prepare all existing data into a compatible format that fits your new ERP software. Once loaded into the new system and formatted correctly, your first ERP test can be performed. In this step you should also monitor and note the key metrics of your business operation, including any disruptions.

Ways to plan and prepare your data for migration:

  • Complete a data audit of all existing legacy systems and applications to have a clear picture going into the data migration.
  • Categorize the types of data you need to migrate and identify any redundancy by combing through the data and cleaning for accuracy.
  • Define what data transfer method you want to use and test it to be sure it is the right migration process.
  • Make a backup plan and a recovery plan in case errors occur or data is lost.
  • Create a data governance policy and put protocols in place.

4. Test the ERP system

All the preemptive steps have been taken and now it’s time to do some system testing before you go-live. In this stage, development might still occur and that is normal. The testing of one ERP module may occur and fixes or adjustments might need to be made, while other modules are being tested simultaneously. Team members should be put through user training and key stakeholders should be involved in this testing process as well.

It is vital to test the entire system and ensure its functioning properly and running data accurately. This is the most important phase because it will ensure all system applications and processes are running as they should before the ERP software is officially up and running.

Things to remember during the testing phase:

  • Keep track of user acceptance criteria and document the information.
  • Test the system for functionality from start to finish and validate all migrated data for accuracy purposes.
  • Check for user accessibility by conducting reviews and reviewing feedback.
  • Conduct all necessary tests prior to deploying the ERP software, such as testing automation processes, workflows and system security.
  • Ensure the ERP system is compatible with the other existing systems and applications in place.
  • Make sure all employees are trained on the system; consider implementing ERP software in stages before going company-wide.

5. Deliver a successfully implemented ERP system

If the steps above have all been taken, then great news, your organization is ready to launch its new ERP system. Assuming all employees have been properly trained on the software, it’s now time to roll out the new ERP solution.

The project team that started the implementation process should be at the ready in case employees are confused or other potential issues arise. Be prepared for issues and have contingency plans in place if there is a serious malfunction. All ERP modules can be deployed concurrently but can be done in stages as well. Some organizations might choose to prioritize certain modules and add others as they go, which is completely normal.

No two organizations are alike and deploying an ERP software can differ greatly but remember to make the ERP solution accessible to all employees and make sure automated processes are activated.

What to look for once implementation occurs:

  • Is the data accurate and functioning properly?
  • Do all users have real-time accessibility without issue?
  • Are security protocols in place and functioning?
  • Is the workflow in place and processing as it should?

6. Manage your ERP solution

Now, assuming the implementation is complete, it’s important to create a protocol for ongoing maintenance for your ERP system. Your organization should be performing regular maintenance checks and upgrading software periodically. Creating a team or having a professional in place to maintain the health of your ERP system is key to the longevity of the solution.

The ERP vendor you select should be available for any questions and ongoing maintenance or updates needed. Best practices for this implementation process should include a well-managed team and strong communication between the organization, its employees and key stakeholders to ensure the ERP solution is working effectively and efficiently.

Best practices for managing your new ERP system:

  • Listen to user and client feedback often.
  • On-premises ERP systems will require periodic software updates and sometimes hardware updates as well, while cloud-based ERP will update automatically.
  • Create standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure common issues can be addressed quickly.

Implement ERP solutions with IBM

IBM Consulting is the driving force behind your business transformation journey. We offer business consulting with expert advice and are all about working openly and bringing together different perspectives, experiences and essential AI and hybrid cloud technology to meet your business goals.

IBM offers a range of ERP solutions for your business, including consulting services for SAP on IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and AWS Cloud. Our SAP experts create custom roadmaps to lower costs and improve results. With these solutions and more, IBM Consulting experts can help you successfully migrate legacy ERP applications to the cloud, redesign processes to leverage data, AI and automation for your business, and transform finance into a competitive advantage.

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit: www.ibm.com.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: