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11 tips for deploying ERP applications

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | May 16, 2013
IT executives and ERP experts offer 11 tips to get a return on your software investment.

5. Focus on the Essentials
"Avoid shiny object syndrome," warns Hoebler. "Instead of building rich dashboards or automating unwieldy or poorly documented processes, tackle the basics: financials, HR/payroll, supply chain processes and reporting," he says.

"Create a foundation from day one that keeps the business running and forces data standardization. Pie charts and scatter plots look great at board meetings, but not with incorrect data. Establish core processes and data as a foundation for additional functionality and enhancements," he says.

6. Don't Go it Alone
"Many organizations find that involving outside ERP experts is instrumental in making the ERP initiative successful," explains Steve Litwin, president, Litcom, an IT solutions provider. Just make sure if you do hire a third-party ERP consulting firm that it understands your business and your organizational objectives as well as the ERP system you are deploying.

"The partner your company chooses to work with is the most important decision you will make during an ERP implementation," argues Mike Oswalt, president, Algorithm, an IT solutions, services and support provider. "The software partner should be knowledgeable about your industry and fully understand your business" -- and work closely with you throughout the ERP implementation process.

7. Invest in Training
Before you roll out your new software company-wide, or even to a couple of departments, "it is worth it to invest in a core team of users and train them on the tool, even though it may take team members away from their core job function," advises Gail Snider, Marketing Director -- Microsoft Relations, enVista, a supply chain consulting and IT services firm.

8. Focus on Data and Change Management
"Most ERP delays today can be traced back to lack of focus on getting master and transactional data ready in time, or a lack of alignment around new business processes and its impact to the end user community," explains Brad Little, vice president, North America SAP Service Line Leader at Capgemini.

"Even if you build a perfect system, your go-live may not be successful without quality data and business users ready to embrace the new solution. Start early on both of these fronts to avoid unwelcome surprises," Little says.

9. Avoid Over-Customizing Your ERP Solution
While some customization is essential, too many organizations over-customize their software, to the point where "years later, they can't upgrade the system without losing all of this custom work," explains Dustin Wells, CEO, Headspring, which specializes in custom software development and consulting. "You can avoid this by reducing the amount of customizations made by your ERP vendor, or by having them written in a sustainable (vendor-neutral) language upfront."


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