Choosing, deploying and implementing an ERP system is a very complex task and a lot of mistakes can be made along the way. As a result of our vast experience, we decided to zoom in on the 5 most common mistakes we noticed related to ERP implementations. Our goal is to prevent you from making them so we focus on what you can do to avoid them.
#1 - Underestimating the AS-IS analysis
Taking the time to make a profound AS-IS analysis and link it to your ERP requirements is a necessary step in the process of migrating from an old ERP to a new system.
Many companies fail to identify crucial pain points and map out essential business processes before starting an ERP project. We believe it is essential to identify key processes, users’ issues and software usage in order to create a proper and valuable “TO-BE” situation. An important element here is to include employees (end-users) from the entire organization and create a dedicated project team. This involves selected people from each part of your organization. We transform them into 'project champions', each with their own role and responsibilities.
During the “AS-IS” analysis phase, we guide you step-by-step and take a closer look at existing business processes across departments. By listening to the needs of our customers, we are able to make the necessary adjustments prior to beginning the migration. This approach avoids that inefficient or outdated processes are copied to the new system. By focusing on industry standards and best practices, we help you to make smarter decisions about future solutions. Our goal is to meet the desired outcomes and maximize the ROI of our customers’ SAP investments.
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#2 - Trying to do it all at once
ERP implementations are rather complex. To minimize delays and keep a ‘smooth’ migration or implementation process, we propose an agile project approach. These include short implementation cycles focusing on the features that provide the most business value. This way you can verify all requirements, set sub-goals/priorities, involve end-users to do proper testing, find gaps and fix them straight away.
Companies who try to implement all at once and go-live rather quickly will soon find out it does not work. They will waste more time (and ROI) and tend to fail the digital transformation journey by losing their focus.
A dedicated project manager is recommended to follow up on timing and deadlines. He or she can plan ahead, identify the more difficult features, processes and departments and communicate at fixed times. By keeping track of a dedicated project plan, all team members understand the sequence and the importance of certain tasks. The project team (including all key users and Amista consultants) should really function as one team.
#3 - Not investing in change management and (online) training
Implementing an (new) ERP system is a big change and there will probably be a few growing pains along the way. It takes more than software to transform a business. We noticed that technology is not the issue, but user adoption is. The people factor may not be underestimated. Not only do your business processes change, most of the time the mindset of your employees needs to change as well. Digital transformation should be embraced across your organization. One of the most common reasons why ERP projects tend to fail, is that employees were not prepared for the change and did not get enough training into the new system before it went live. Sometimes it leads to employees resenting the new solution because they don't understand the “why” of the new system or how to use it correctly.
At Amista we have a dedicated Learning & Enablement team. During ERP projects, a Change and E-Learning Consultant makes sure employees become comfortable with the new solution before it goes live. We have created best-practice methodologies to stimulate and manage change and how to conduct a (E-)Learning culture. We propose a blended learning culture in which online content is combined with classroom training. By leveraging our learning expertise, we provide fun E-Learning content, quizzes and online support (cfr. Web Assistant in S/4HANA) to ensure that end-users will master the solution they will work with. Employees should become excited and understand why the organization is implementing a new system. We improve your chances of ERP success by convincing and training end-users.
#4 - Not keeping the core clean
In the past, a lot of organizations built customized solutions or workarounds within their core foundation. Usually, these were built to support specific industry processes in addition to the standard functionality of ERP. The customizations usually lasted almost up to twenty years. Nowadays, those specific solutions are quickly becoming obsolete because they no longer support the latest technological developments or upgrades. This created extremely complex systems or processes and extend your ERP project scope.
Thankfully, SAP-driven companies can innovate without sacrificing the core processes and capabilities of their powerful ERP. Via the SAP Business Technology Platform, which we compare with a large Lego box filled with all kinds of building blocks, companies can develop custom work in a flexible layer that runs on top of the ERP system. The layer runs in the cloud and it enables companies to create customized apps, to expand ERP functionality and to integrate various on-premises and cloud applications. This way, you keep the core clean. Extensions built via Business Technology Platform are integrated directly into the end-to-end process, so processes are optimally aligned with each other. The 'Keep the core clean'-concept makes it easier to update and improve the core (like ERP, ECC, S/4HANA) on a regular basis.
#5 - Clean, test and repeat
To minimize errors and delete outdated or duplicate data, it is crucial to verify and clean your data before migrating to a new system. Accurate data is necessary to ensure you have proper processes in place. SAP ERP systems are powerful, innovative and robust tools that can really transform your business, but they can only work with the data you give them. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll have far fewer issues.
However, in many cases this is a daunting, error-prone and time-consuming task. That is why we offer software bots to help you clean your data and verify that the migration of the data from your ERP tot SAP S/4HANA is successful.
The best way to see if your system is up to speed and performing like you need it to, is to test it. As a new ERP like SAP S/4HANA offers many more functionalities than predecessor solutions, it is crucial to match all the data. After migrating the data, a lot of manual tests need to be made to make sure that your (financial) reports still have the same result as in the previous system and don’t contain any errors. Manually testing reports is a long and daunting task with a high probability of human mistakes. We therefore developed some Robotic Process Automation bots that can handle this task.
Organizations that are taking the time to do proper testing will, in the long run, make their implementation go faster and smoother with fewer after go-live issues.
Avoid ERP failure!
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