Updated: Feb 2, 2021
At Cloudian Philippines, our mission is to help clients successfully migrate to the cloud, one project at a time.
Whether, you are getting an ERP for the first time or upgrading from a legacy ERP to Acumatica Cloud ERP, the entire process is similar to a migration, where a number of important business processes (e.g. financials, purchasing, inventory, etc. ) and information from a Current State (manual or legacy system) will be migrated to a Future State (modern, integrated, 21st-Century ERP).
The purchase or subscription to an ERP Software is a serious investment that requires an excellent and practical implementation methodology to match it.
Step 1: Set Goals and Priorities
A successful ERP project is one that is performance-driven and meets a goal or a set of goals set by it leaders. Like all major business decisions, the ERP implementation must make sense from the context of the business. Identifying the business drivers for migrating to a new ERP and the priority processes are essential. Explicitly identifying the goals and priorities for the project provides a clear direction to the project team.
Example of an explicit set of goals for an ERP initiative are as follows:
Step 2: Plan and Align
This step identifies the following: a) the processes / or pain points that are targeted for improvement, b) functionalities desired (must have and nice-to-have) and c) basic and advanced capabilities of the ERP. While no 2 companies are totally the same, identifying where best practices are applicable and to what extent makes a lot of sense. Proper scoping is a must. It is also critical to identify potential problems that may affect the success of the project and provide the appropriate measures immediately. One example of a potential problem is the skills gap that might exist, in which case, a training plan must be prepared. Setting the proper expectations and transparency are keys to a good working relationship between the client’s team and the service provider.
Step 3: Transform Data and Processes:
This step is the most detailed part of the process. Here, the technical transformation of both processes and data are performed. This is also called configuration. The result is the potential future state of the processes and operations. The configurations made into the system will be tested for proper functionality and accepted by the users, also called User Acceptance Testing (UAT). The target users, together with the designated administrator/s are deeply involved in this process to ensure a properly executed configuration, which will make future improvements and optimization works are easier to deploy.
Step 4: Organize for Success:
After configuration, most ERP projects proceed to a stage called End-User Training (EUT). While an essential step, this should just a part of a grander scheme which is to prepare the organization for an effective migration by developing early adopters (pioneers). So, even prior to training end-users, the company’s management and staff must be made aware and where applicable, be educated in the new ERP. Formal corporate communications about the project goals and expectations will pave the way for a smoother transition. This step also helps stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities in the transformed processes. Having a big-picture understanding will allow users and stakeholders to better participate and aid in the successful adoption of the new ERP by acting as early adopters of the new system. Cloudian Philippines can help facilitate a pre-launch workshop to achieve this end.
Step 5: Launch and Land
In most ERP projects, launching the system (usually, called Go-live) signals the end of the ERP project and the client users take full control of administering the new system. However, during the early stage of the roll-out, users would most likely have not yet acquired the confidence and skills to use and administer the ERP. Launching or going live is only the start of the end of the engagement. After the launch, a safe landing must also take place. This means that the users and administrator must be able to build the confidence to manage the system after the initial launch. In this early stage, they are like pilots flying the plane for the first time. They need coaching and post launch support. At Cloudian Philippines, we provide clients with a minimum of ten (10) days post-launch support where our implementation team will provide coaching and support to the client’s user team. This handholding is aimed at helping client users build confidence in running the new ERP during the early stages of the ERP roll-out.
Step 6: Nurture and Improve
While a post-implementation activity, this step deserves special mention as this is where long-term success and ROI are eventually attained. This phase emphasizes the need for optimization and continuously improving the ERP usage. At this stage, additional functionalities may be identified and planned for roll-out or integration with 3rd party systems may be considered to further strengthen the overall business technology of the organization and meet the challenges of an ever-changing business landscape. (You can check out our customer support services by clicking here.)
Underlying these 6 steps is a management process of building, maintaining and continuously improving.