How to Create an ERP Implementation Plan

An ERP implementation plan is more than just a to-do list - it is a fact finding mission that will help you to assess the impact of an implementation on your company’s unique business culture and people.

Every implementation is different in one way or another. But when I look at my planning notes at the end of an implementation, I see that some of the same issues have cropped up on every project, regardless of the software being implemented or the type of business.

Why is this? One reason is that the implementation team is usually comprised of people who have put aside their normal duties to learn a new product and business process. The learning curve can be quite steep and there will be things that the team would want to do differently if they had a second chance.

But most organizations only do a major implementation one time so there is no second chance. That's why it is a good investment of time and resources to plan, plan, plan ahead.

From the Top - Twenty Implementation Plan Tips

These tips will help your organization to create a top level ERP implementation plan. When you have assessed the big picture, you will be in a position to create detailed timelines and implementation task lists.

1. Develop a business case outlining the justification and ROI for the ERP implementation project.

2. Determine if you have the in house resources, skills and experience to implement ERP. Consider outsourcing any parts that you cannot do.

3. Create a steering committee to oversee the project.

4. Form a communications sub-committee to act as a conduit between all the major stakeholders.

5. Set up the internal project team and a cross-functional project team if this is a large operation.

6. Develop and document a project scope. Include a list of deliverables and milestones that will be used to track whether or not the project is on target.

7. Conduct a detailed business process review to document the flows of current information and identify what will be done differently.

8. Create a customized RFP that blends existing and desirable features.

9. Evaluate and select a software solution.

10. Evaluate hardware platform and procure new hardware if required.

11. Reassign project team members’ normal job responsibilities to other employees for the duration.

12. Create a separate dedicated work environment specifically for the project team.

13. Identify required custom reports.

14. Implement a system of sign offs and hand offs for deliverables.

15. Plan data migration from the old software system to the new.

16. Constantly evaluate risks, constraints & assumptions.

17. Develop a training plan for all users and roll out the training plan in a phased manner.

18. Conduct user group conferences and prototype sessions to demonstrate the system’s capabilities. Solicit feedback from end users and ensure that all concerns and questions are addressed.

19. Encourage end users to network with peers at other organizations undergoing similar implementation initiatives.

20. Ensure that information is continuously communicated to the user community as you roll out the new system.

And one final piece of advice - if things do not go smoothly as anticipated, have a contingency plan in place to keep the daily business operations and financial reporting moving along. You want to ensure that there is no premature talk about a failed implementation.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to talk about your implementation plan - my advice is free and freely given.

Sincerely,

Barbara Craven
Box 433, Enderby BC V0E 1V0 Canada



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