Selecting your new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a long-term commitment, not to be taken lightly. It can also be costly—meaning you have a financial responsibility to ensure implementation goes well. Your ERP system will be used across several departments, so ensuring your employees are involved in the ERP selection process is vital for a successful implementation.
Who Must Work Together When Selecting an ERP System
You IT department is fundamental in the installation of your ERP system. When considering a system, your IT team will help to decipher whether an on-premise, cloud, or hybrid system is best. They’ll need to have a say in how the new ERP system fits into your existing technological infrastructure.
They will also need to prepare for the implementation: putting the appropriate tools and resources in place to support and integrate the ERP system. If the new ERP system is replacing other systems, your IT personnel may need to migrate data and make decisions about when old software can be decommissioned and when data and processes are ready for the new software to be brought online.
“Sponsors” are individuals who are respected by their co-workers and have a certain influence. Getting the buy-in of a sponsor who can champion the need for a new ERP solution can help overall staff feel more at ease about the impending system. Sponsors should have a say in the project’s executive decisions and be actively involved in the business case.
- Selection Project Managers
Selection project managers can be internal or external. Project managers oversee the project and ensure it stays on track. Make sure to include your project managers through implementation too: you will still need them!
If you go with an external resource, it crucial to validate the y are impartial and not affiliated to specific as this will heavily influence the system they recommend, Unfortunately, finding impartial external project managers is a rare feat.
- Internal Stakeholders
Otherwise known as subject matter experts (SMEs), internal stakeholders define the key features needed in your ERP system. Internal stakeholders are opinion leaders, valued in their respective departments. They will also be key users: defining the system parameters and its requirements. Finally, they will also be power users: understanding the system well and becoming a resource for other employees.
- Deal Brokers
The role of the deal broker will be in negotiating the contract terms and purchase price of the ERP system. Negotiating an ERP software contract is both an art and a science that requires an eye on details while grasping the big picture.
Thankfully, you can refer to experts who specialize in the ERP selection process and act as a “professional buyer” to advocate your interests. Choosing to bring in an expert can save your business a lot of money.
- Corporate Trainers
Corporate trainers are an essential part of effective change management. Your staff will have become accustomed to your legacy system, or may never have used an ERP system at all. For new users, navigating the new system could be confusing and even catastrophic. Training your team means they can confidently tackle the new system, and business continues to run smoothly.
If the system isn’t much of an upheaval, refer to a vendor’s available resources. Vendors often supply detailed product documentation and have helpful online communities.
Effective Collaboration for Smooth Implementation
A lot of people need to be involved in the evaluation, selection, and implementation of an organization’s new ERP solution, but they all have specific and important roles to play in ensuring the ERP system you select is the best fit your organization’s needs. An ERP system’s key purpose is to glue your business together—with a focus on its workflows and processes. By including these crucial players, you ensure a smooth ERP selection and implementation.
Deeana Radley is a business and technology writer with over 5 years of industry insight. She has written extensively on technology trends, software solutions and market developments, and particularly enjoys rendering complex topics accessible to beginners.