ERP implementation: how not to suffer a fiasco

    Amazing fact. The business manager chooses the office with the most meticulous care, buys a car with love and special attention, loses it at interviews and looks for a second Jobs at the price of Vasya Ivanov from the 4th course of the polytechnic center, buys powerful equipment - that is, he deliberately provides himself with the means of production. But as far as business automation is concerned, some kind of razdolbaystvo begins: “well, this CRM is well known, we will buy it,” “oh, look, and then everything is free,” “hmm, why should we, do everything in Excel” and t .d Given that a well-conducted implementation of CRM / ERP increases the efficiency of labor, and the size of capital. The reason for this behavior is a mystery. One of the possible clues is the fear of software and misunderstanding that it should cost money, especially when it comes to the level of ERP. After all, the depreciation of software drifts on that the computer can not be copied to the copier, and software - please, hacked the reg.key and ready. Today we are fear hunters and have prepared a small but valuable (seemingly) educational program.

    It is better to read once, then to fly one day later (not for one course, but to fly more evenly)

    We have already talked about the introduction of CRM-systems, and we know that the articles have brought practical benefits. It seems that the pattern is applicable to ERP. However, it is not. In the course of numerous implementations of our “almost ERP”, more precisely, hyper CRM RegionSoft CRM Enterprise Plus, we have accumulated a list of special points (additional to the features of CRM implementation ) that need to be taken into account so that the implementation project does not become an implementation plan - the price of an error in the case of ERP is too high . Save to bookmarks - the list turned out to be minimalistic and very useful in order for everything to fall on the shelves.

    Take the time to figure out exactly what your business needs.

    First of all, you should have a clear idea of ​​what you are looking for, what tasks the new software should help solve and what are the goals of its implementation. This is definitely not the case when the argument “everyone ran and I ran” comes down. ERP-system (for simplicity, we will call it the very hyper CRM, that is, the class of serious functionally clever systems for business) is an ally of the company's strategy. Accordingly, if there are questions to the strategy, there will be even more to ERP.

    Correctly form and rank the list of requirements. In contrast to the situation with the CRM system, the requirements for ERP will force you to create your own IT service - they know exactly what happens if there are no requirements. However, the list should be divided into two parts: a large (most often generally overwhelming) part of the list is the set that was originally supplied by the vendor in the system. You can focus on this part when choosing a supplier. But the smaller part is the most valuable, these are the requirements that distinguish your business from the mass of companies and which may require revision. Think carefully about what you need to complete and competent automation (for example, someone needs integration with billing, someone wants to fasten specific functions and reports to work with staff, projects or business processes).

    ERP does not have to define a business; business must choose and use ERP as a tool.

    Do not judge the ERP on the demo version, but do not refuse any demo

    We have already said that it is better to judge CRM by its demo version, but you should not believe your eyes to the end. With ERP, the situation is again stricter: it is necessary to download the demo, it is strictly necessary to test in the company (and not just one manager!), But you should not always believe the indicators. And that's why.

    1. The first reason is the limitations of the demo version on the volume of users (operations, records, etc.). Simply put, you are driving software on a demo base - either empty or not the biggest. Naturally, the software copes with such a load. In reality, you can get unexpected slowdowns and freezes, or even better - the “honest” eyes of a developer who claims that for your number of records you need to buy Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server DBMS (that's why for your “almost ERP” RegionSoft CRM 7.0 Enterprise Pluswe chose Firebird - a powerful, free, non-inflating license cost). It should be noted that if the ERP, which you decide to test, slows down and freezes even on small test data, drop it and run away from it faster, because when working on real data, this system will almost guarantee you to take out your brain.
    2. The second reason is mostly related to cloud providers - they demonstrate a demo version on their own hardware configuration, and the impressive result will turn into a pumpkin in some public cloud, and the initial configuration will be expensive and, for example, designed for large businesses (check this in vendors).

    In this case, be sure to spend time on all forms of demonstration that the vendor offers you.

    Decide on the type of ERP system required

    Today, ERP can be divided into groups on several grounds, but we and you are only interested in one grouping: project-oriented ERP and production ERP. This does not mean that in the first there is no production functionality, and the second overlooks the design approach. However, project-oriented ERP is more versatile and suitable for companies that do not have a complex production. But much more attention will be paid to planning, organizing work, managing tasks and projects, finance, reporting and monitoring indicators.

    Test selected solutions for future use scenarios.

    We have already talked about the demo version, which you install at your site in order to choose the best option. Usually, testing of the demo version is limited by the fact that some employees consider the task optional and unsubscribe "everything is OK, I liked it", and some press the main buttons, look at the menu and again unsubscribe "everything is OK, I liked it" (maximum - 2-3 notes ). So, it is necessary to test selected solutions based on the tasks performed by each - this does not mean that you need to immediately work directly in the system, but it’s necessary to look at the path of the main tasks and processes.

    How to do this if you did not have automation? Describe the procedure for the main processes, at each stage, prescribe what is especially needed, what resources are needed - so check if this is in the ERP system. It may even look like this:

    Pay attention to the hardware required to deploy an ERP system

    Medium and large businesses dislike CRM cloud systems due to security issues and inflexible functionality (as a rule, SaaS systems in the cloud come with the least possible redesign) and are unlikely to want to have cloud ERP and transfer to the side not only the client base , but also all the indicators of the company. Accordingly, you need to discuss with the vendor ERP system requirements - those server configurations that are necessary for stable operation on your data volume.

    Do not focus on the price tag of the ERP system

    Choosing an ERP system, it is impossible not to dwell on the implementation budget. This is the most common reason for failure - choosing the system solely for the price factor is reckless (well, this is equivalent to choosing the car for the price only, although it’s still a question of how much this Trabant with Putin’s autograph will cost , and if its price is space, then obviously it’s not because of the technical characteristics of the Trabant). The advice is simple: plan a budget and start exploring the functionality of the solutions you chose, which, when looking at them, should also evaluate all possible business benefits.

    Decommission the software that has been replaced by ERP (hyper CRM)

    It seems like obvious advice, but in companies somehow a zoo of “semi-abandoned” software is formed by inertia. There are two important reasons to abandon existing backup software:

    1. Man is by nature difficult to perceive the new and uses the usual thing as soon as possible. So with the software: employees will do business in the programs in which they are used to doing it. As a result, the "move" to the new ERP will be long and the payback period of investments in it will increase dramatically.
    2. The main argument - why pay for the same program? Let's take a specific example. Suppose you have a SaaS program for warehouse management in your company, for 20 employees the payment is 142,800 per year (real price). But you also have CRM, right? It costs you 239,760 per year (they took a modest version). Let their integration cost you $ 0. Total per year you pay a monthly fee of 382 560r. And you read Habr, met the developers and decided to implement RegionSoft CRM Enterprise Plus, for which license you pay exactly once in your life - 353 250 r. for 20 users. It has a powerful CRM, and a warehouse, and production. So why do you need the first two? Feel the benefits? (Yes, yes, we will not lie, the implementation can also require money, we ourselves wrote how much it costs , but in the end it is really more profitable than keeping the software park “on subscriber”).

    Highlight the project manager, project team and involve employees

    In general, the first thought that should be transmitted to the staff is that any automation is introduced solely in their interests, in order to facilitate the routine and productive solution of complex tasks. Corporate software, mounted on top in a directive manner, is doomed to a boycott. Therefore, it is important to involve employees in the process of implementing an ERP system:

    • Highlight the manager (managers) responsible for the implementation and coordination of the project as a whole - this will be the person whose work in the near future will be the ERP implementation project: collecting requirements, analyzing, working with vendors, testing the selected software, coordinating all processes, organizing training, supporting internal expert and so on. We did not accidentally emphasize the word “work” - the employee should be as free as possible from his usual tasks.
    • Form a working group and also allow its members to reduce the time spent on official duties - their task is to make implementation extremely operational and comfortable.
    • Attract employees to test solutions and formulate requirements; they need to understand that they are responsible for choosing the tool with which they will work in the next N years.

    Do not give up the implementation of ERP at the mercy of the technical service

    In general, it is very convenient to outweigh the implementation of the system administrator (in a small company) or technical service (in a larger company). However, there are a number of drawbacks that will negate all efforts:

    • The technical service does not have an understanding of many business processes and does not know what is needed for business on what scale (like, in fact, no other service separately)
    • IT people have their own opinion on software choice and it can be completely different from what is needed for sales, logistics, warehouse and, finally, management
    • for IT services, ERP, like most other software, is understandable in terms of interface and functionality. They are, by definition, easier to deal with any software, but users need to assess whether their system is comfortable, see how the logic works, what the functionality looks like.
    • in general, any additional software IT service may perceive as additional. the work that needs to be done in the form of maintaining this software in a working and current state. And as you know, why do we need extra work, if it can be avoided ...

    There are several reasons why CIO / CTO is not the best person to choose an ERP system. For example, a person is weak and can play a recoil scheme, and, accordingly, will be economically engaged and biased. However, we will not generalize and discuss this topic - I think readers know a lot of such examples. Well, we hope that these are unlucky exceptions.

    Subjectively evaluate the vendor

    Pay attention to the quality of work of the vendor's employees, their attentiveness and aspiration / non-desire to quickly smelt and get rid. Ask a maximum of questions and do not hesitate to ask even what seems silly or ridiculous to you - you have every right not to understand business automation, but the vendor’s employees must answer your questions clearly and fully.

    Manage change

    If you have come to the implementation of the ERP-system, then most likely, your company has already begun to occur, or changes will occur. They must be managed - that is, they must occur reasonably, gradually, based on automation and best practices. Keep in mind that there are three levels of change management: individual, collective and organizational. Similarly, the ERP-system should cover the interests of all three levels.

    ERP is undoubtedly a useful program if there is a need for it. Delay implementation is not worth it: the earlier you start, the sooner you will feel that such an intensive growth and progressive differences from competitors. A person walking on foot will never overtake a person driving a powerful and reliable car. Even on Trabant it will turn out faster :). So why let yourself be overtaken as standing?

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