ERP implementation and go-live is a long process which may take up to a few months for all the processes to be aligned centrally to the system. In a lengthy process like these, sometimes it becomes slightly blurry to identify the benefits in one go. Here are a few steps which can help you determine the benefits post-implementation.
- Take stock of your current state
Take a complete stock of your current systems and processes. Access which system is doing what, which process in lagging behind, what is taking more time than expected, which systems are causing glitches, and which areas need special attention. You will have a clear idea of what is to be expected when an ERP is implemented. Identifying pain points is the first step of accessing the benefits of an ERP after implementation.
- Clearly chalk out your expectation
Once you know where you stand, you will have a list of expectation from the ERP. Note them down and vividly map them with the pain points. Your expectations should be based on the promised offerings of the ERP system and not any vague futuristic ideal. It should be coherent with your current systems and should be measurable in real terms. Make a defined ERP business case where you clearly outline the expected ROI from the ERP implementation. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) and track them throughout the project and post implementation.
Your ROI depends heavily on the quality of your business case. The most effective business cases outline specific, measurable ways a new system will improve the business.
- Align everyone to the organizational goals
The ERP business case and the expected ROI should be aligned with the organizational goals and it should have a buy in from all the decision makers and executives. Executives should clearly communicate these goals to everyone involved in the process change. When executives communicate how project goals tie into business goals, business benefits become more achievable. For example, a common, business-related reason that companies implement ERP software is to improve their data insights. When executives explain how technology can enable this business goal, your team is more likely to select the right software and migrate the right data.
- Have a realistic and achievable project plan
Unrealistic project plan and deadlines are the root causes of lukewarm benefits. If your project plan and deliverables are unrealistic the post implementation benefits will not be able to match up with your expected ROI. Many companies inaccurately estimate the time, budget and resources required to effectively implement an ERP system.
- Get the stage ready for ERP
Implementation of an ERP brings in a lot of change in the way organizations operate. Employees and decision makers have to be prepared to embrace this change so that the post implementation benefits can be reaped in its entirety. You can’t realize business benefits if end-users aren’t prepared to use the new software. This reiterates the point why it is very important to train employees as early as possible and make them aware of the changing scenario. If it a large organization then a detailed change management plan is necessary.
- Real time measurement of benefit realization
Engage in a continuous benefit measurement effort so that you are aware about the gaps of the projected benefits and the real benefits of the ERP. Root cause analyses can identify the causes of these benefit gaps. designate KPI owners as the people responsible for measuring benefits, identifying root causes and implementing corrective action. The ideal KPI owner is familiar with the processes being measured, has a stake in their success and has the leverage to address lagging performance.