How to Win at Implementing ERP
ERP Best Practices for Implementation from Chris Garrity, Vice President at Terillium
Implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a complex process, and it’s important to approach the project with some key tactics for success in mind. In this post, we’re sharing a few ideas on how to “win” your implementation with these ERP best practices. A project management methodology for your ERP implementation is an essential tool to make your project a success (or a failure). Extensive, high-quality, integrated testing is also crucial. Planning for and executing well designed integrations with third-party systems is also essential to delivering a complete solution. And finally, the importance of clear and frequent communication during an ERP implementation project can’t be overstated. Read more on these topics below.
Use a Methodology
Most ERP consulting companies have a methodology. At Terillium, our team has developed a proven methodology over the course of 20+ years helping businesses implement ERP. A methodology is an essential framework that shapes an ERP implementation. The methodology provides structure and helps teams tackle the complexity of an implementation by dividing the work into manageable phases, workstreams and tasks.
A methodology also helps to ensure that everyone involved on the project is on the same page. For example, at Terillium, all our consultants are full-time employees (versus outside contractors) and are trained on the same methodology. This provides much needed consistency and stability, knowing no matter who is on the project – they will approach tasks using the same proven methods.
Test (a lot)
Our methodology includes more testing than most other system implementers. That’s because we’ve done enough of these projects to know you have to test, test, test. Functionality is all hypothetical until you test how it works. From the beginning of the project, we focus on testing end-to-end business processes. It’s not enough to demonstrate individual transactions are working. Only when you can run a complete business process, from Quote to Cash for example, have you proven that your ERP system can support your business requirements.
It’s important that technical and functional end-users of the ERP software are involved in the testing – testing shouldn’t be conducted solely by a third party.
Don’t Wait to Integrate
Integrations are one area where, if neglected, can cause a lot of issues. The development of robust interfaces between third-party software and the ERP software requires coordination with external parties, and involves the use of multiple applications and integration tools. Involving all parties in the interface development is essential to keeping the integration effort on track. Setting realistic expectations and assigning clear responsibilities for every team member involved ensures efficient design, development and testing efforts.
The importance of frequent and clear communication during an ERP project can’t be stressed enough. Terillium’s project management approach includes many tactics for communication, including a proprietary ERP implementation project website where all key information and documentation is shared. We recommend defining a communication plan early in the project:
- Making sure everyone involved in the project has access to the project website and setting the expectation that all team members contribute to the content of the site
- Planning, executing and reporting the results of test events and other major milestones
- Setting up a cadence to communicate project progress back to the business, especially the executives sponsoring the project
- Acknowledging and communicating wins, both big and small
About the Author | Chris Garrity
Chris Garrity is a Vice President at Terillium. Chris has 25 years of experience with ERP implementations. Prior to his career at Terillium, Chris was a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting. He also worked as a project manager at JD Edwards before the ERP software product was acquired by Oracle. Chris has a Bachelor of Science from UCLA, as well as a background accounting, finance, and computer programming. His professional certifications include APICS CFPIM and Project Management Institute PMP. Chris has spoken at several conferences including Oracle Open World, APICS World Conference, and numerous user group events.