Planning for a successful implementation involves more than selecting the right software; it also involves preparation to ensure that ERP/CRM enables measurable improvements to the business.
In choosing an ERP/CRM software package and planning for the overall project, executives need to make decisions based on objective and unbiased information. Below are several important points to consider when selecting a software solution for your organization.
Decide if the Organization Needs a New ERP/CRM Solution
In many instances, ERP/CRM will not be the right solution for business problems. If the business strategies or key business processes are flawed, even the most advanced ERP/CRM system will not resolve business issues. Before making a decision as large as implementing a system that can affect the entire organization, it’s essential to have a clear comprehension of what your organization wishes to realize by taking up this challenge. There may be more cost-effective and lower-risk options such as optimizing the current ERP/CRM system, layering a data analytics and visualization solution over the existing transaction system to provide better business visibility, or implementing a performance management system. In these instances, deciding not to implement ERP/CRM may be the best course of action. Alternatively, ERP/CRM could be the solution that facilitates these improvements.
Determine Business Requirements
If ERP/CRM is the road your organization needs to take, the best route is to begin by examining your desired operational model and utilizing that as a starting point in establishing which software to implement. Executives should identify and document key business requirements for any package they may choose. This consists not only nice-to-haves, but also requirements that are “deal-breakers” if the software is unable to accommodate. Furthermore, executives should utilize ERP/CRM business requirements definition as a chance to enhance current operations, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Establish a Business Case and ROI
It is important to understand and document what your organization’s total costs will be for each ERP/CRM vendor under consideration, as well as the organization’s anticipated business benefits. This is important in gaining approval from other executives or the Board of Directors, and it also helps ensure that your organization realizes the potential benefits of implementing ERP/CRM. All costs, including hidden project costs such as internal project resources, data conversion, and lost productivity immediately following go-live, should be included in the business case and ROI calculation for each ERP/CRM vendor you evaluate. In addition, benefits should be reasonable and not overly aggressive. Ultimately, your business case should be a tool to manage business costs, benefits, and ROI going forward, not just as a sales tool to justify a decision that’s already been made. If the resulting ROI for a particular ERP/CRM vendor does not make sense or meet minimum investment criteria for your company, then it’s probably not a good idea to undertake the project.
Select an Implementation Partner
Has your organization carefully weighed all options in assessing potential external implementation teams? Software companies may not always be the best at implementing their software, and some are costlier than others. Oftentimes, third-party vendors and consultants can implement ERP/CRM more successfully or at a lower cost. It is also essential to search for consulting firms that are capable of helping your organization manage the non-technical aspects of the project, such as organizational change management, training, and ERP/CRM benefits realization.
Have a Plan “B”
Regardless of how successful the project is, your organization should be equipped for any issues or problems that could arise. If the project does fail or if the software is not implemented correctly, what is the “plan b” backup plan? Will users be able to access legacy systems? Will some processes be operated manually until the system is up and running? Dramatic failures are not the norm, but they do happen on occasion, so organizations should be prepared for the unexpected.
The Litcom Approach
For clients making new hardware and software decisions, Litcom provides independent advice and assistance. We have assisted our clients in evaluating and selecting enterprise wide business systems, as well as solutions for specific industry verticals, best of breed software applications and the hardware and network infrastructure required to support their business. To see how Litcom can assist you with your organization’s vendor selection process, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org .