5. Knowledge Management - Individuals learn in different ways and at different speeds. This requires training programmes that allow individuals to learn in ways that are most beneficial for them. Companies may wish to consider developing ERP onboarding processes to train new users. Sometimes, employees may need a refresher through documented and shared ERP training materials. It is also equally important for companies to consider having a certification programme for ERP users that ensure these lessons are actually absorbed by the employees, so they know how to use ERP and will use it more effectively. As such, vendors must be able to provide knowledge and education in the form of instructor-led onsite training, Web-based training, work instruction flash cards, or other means.
6. Technology Innovation and Capabilities - It is important to understand IT trends and innovations when evaluating ERP solutions, as they may fill present or anticipated gaps. Current trends include software-as-a-service (SaaS), mobility, business intelligence (BI), customer relationship management (CRM), human capital management (HCM), supply chain management (SCM) and green technologies. Integration of business applications is highly recommended to gain business visibility and reduce costs, particularly companies with multiple functions, such as finance and accounting, CRM, and SCM. Companies also need to study in detail the product and technology roadmaps while making the decision. Rigorous cost-benefit analysis helps to determine the applications that need to be integrated.
7. Vendor Support - Some companies may also need help in the ERP selection and implementation process. IT vendors may be able to support in business processes analysis, ERP selection, system implementation and configuration, software customisation and integration, training, IT staff, and implementation auditing. All these can have a huge effect on the success of the ERP implementation. Cost, local support, global capabilities, as well as vendor relationship and vendor references/reliability are critical for a company to continue partnering with the vendor on service support activities after the "go-live".
8. Performance Management - Constant performance monitoring is a must, particularly for those companies using a phased approach that can benefit from lessons learnt to fine-tune their project plan and improve operational efficiency. However, companies should not focus only on high-level performance measurement. These metrics should cascade from the boardroom down to the operational levels, to drive accountability and visibility throughout the company and fully realise the benefits of ERP implementation.
Many companies are embarking on a set of strategies to facilitate the ERP selection and implementation process. However, what really matters is how companies execute these strategies and how committed these companies are to all aspects of the ERP lifecycle and full utilisation of ERP in their businesses. Companies should consider moving beyond the sole attraction of cost savings, and implement best practices with key actions such as active participation during implementation, employee training programmes, change management, technological capability, and performance management. Effective communications, a balance between "operationalising" performance measurement and keeping the approach simple will be crucial. Ultimately, this helps lead to effective ERP benefits realisation and a healthy ROI.
Thorsten Leppek is client service director of Tectura ASEAN
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