When a company undergoes a transformation, such as a remodel or system update, a feeling of hope and new life seems to follow. To be successful, a company must follow up on that feeling.
After implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, many feel that the company is going to be “better.” In reality, however, there are going to be issues and frustrations that you’ll need to address to keep that feeling of hope alive. The best way to do that is with an ERP checkup.
There are many ways a company can perform a post implementation ERP checkup. These four tips can help make your ERP checkup easy and effective, allowing you to continue to improve and grow after your implementation:
- Plan your post Go-Live checkup
- Tracking is the best way to see your progress
- Evaluate your results
- Keep things moving in the right direction
What Can an ERP Checkup Find?
A post implementation checkup may accentuate areas or issues in your system that need attention or improvement. Examples of what a checkup may find include:
- Users who could benefit from additional training
- How many new software features users are taking advantage of
- Employees who are using manual processes that the ERP software could automate; and
- Licenses that were purchased but aren’t being used or licenses that could be consolidated to save the company money
Failure to Plan Is Planning to Fail
It may sound like a basic concept, but planning your post implementation checkup helps ensure its success. Unfortunately, many executives, managers, and project team leads haven’t given a second thought to planning beyond the go-live stage of ERP implantation. Many feel that once an ERP system has been fully integrated, the organization can expect to benefit and see changes immediately, with no further intervention needed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With the increased implementation and long-term use of ERP systems, research and company experience have shown that those who have the greatest success with ERP software are those who made post implementation activities and long-term planning a priority.
Tracking Your Progress—or Lack of
How do you know how far you’ve walked, run, biked, or driven? You check your pedometer, which tracks the number of miles you have travelled. Otherwise, you would have to guess. The same is true for your company. How do you know if the systems you’ve put in place are moving you in the right direction if you don’t track your progress?
Tracking can be done in a variety of ways, and there are no hard and fast rules for when or how often you should be tracking your progress. Updates can occur daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, twice a year, or annually. The important thing is that the updates occur according to a schedule you put in place for your company.
Assess Your Results
When you’ve tracked your progress, the next step is evaluation. A proper evaluation not only provides a clear picture of your results thus far but also gives you a solid base from which to move forward and measure your progress. When conducting an evaluation, focus on the tangible results. In other words, if you can’t see it, measure it, or count it, don’t include it. Don’t include any “in the works” or “almost done” projects. You want to keep your post implementation evaluations specific to gain a clear picture of your progress.
Form an ERP Steering Committee
During the ERP implementation phase, your project team gained valuable understanding of the ERP system and its capabilities. The project team has a set of unique qualifications that you can—and should—use for the post implementation checkup.
Consider making your project team the official “ERP Steering Committee.” The committee could meet on a regular basis (weekly, monthly) to address issues from users, hear any complaints or frustrations, aid in the continuing education of workforce, and so on. The committee could also decide whether the company should implement any of the new system’s advanced features or fine-tune current settings. This committee is the key to helping you keep your ERP system running smoothly.
To get the most out of your ERP system, you must understand that ongoing attention is required to learn everything the software is capable of. Using a few post implementation ERP checkup tips, you can rest assured that you’ll continue to reap the benefits of the investment you’ve made in your ERP system.