ERP Optimization: Stage 3 of the ERP Life Cycle
You’ve just implemented an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that serves as the backbone of your business. The software facilitates collaboration among all your departments, streamlines operations, and provides financials driven by your system data. Now is a good time to say, “Congratulations!” But don’t for a minute consider that your work is done. Far from it. Now that you’ve reached the “ERP Optimization” stage of the ERP Life Cycle, this is the time during which you should consider the organization’s additional needs for change management, a post implementation audit and review your ERP enhancements wish-list.
Roll your sleeves back up and get ready for some fun. During the ERP Optimization stage, you’re moving past the pain you experienced when employees grumbled about learning a new system, when departments squabbled over what features were absolutely essential to the project budget and the threat of scope creep kept you up at night. Things are quieting down. Your team is starting to look ahead to the future. Now is when you start to reap the benefits of your new business system. How you conduct the Optimization stage of the ERP life cycle will have an impact on your system’s Return on Investment (ROI).
It will take a little effort and leadership on your part, and keep in mind that you’ll get the most value during the ERP Optimization stage by using a trusted technology advisor who can provide you with guidance. Below are highlights of what we recommend during this stage, and we would be glad to assist you in this stage as your technology partner.
Change Management in the ERP Optimization Stage
During the ERP Optimization stage, the change management process should continue. You’ll want to review the training needs of employees, which includes clearing up any misconceptions about changes to policies and procedures. Your new system will only streamline operations if the team follows the newly established process improvements. If employees are by-passing system functionality and creating manual workarounds, then they are defeating the purpose of the ERP. Functional managers should be reviewing reports and addressing business process changes with their staff. It’s important to find out what is blocking anyone from adapting to change.
More training and reminders may be needed. Encouragement from your company leadership is also highly valued during this time. Consider that it usually takes twice as long for employees to adapt to organizational change as it took for you as the management to plan for it. Most organizations count on a period of at least six months to a year for employees to feel fully proficient in using their new ERP system.
Trek Global provides flexible training packages that organizations can utilize as needed in order to get the most value from their new Trek Cloud ERP or Open Source ERP system. We recognize that employees can only absorb so much new information at once, and so implementation training tends to focus on core functionality with added features addressed according to your needs. Having access to future training can greatly increase your ROI, as over time employees will be ready to explore more advanced functionality.
Post Implementation Audit
In order to effectively perform a post implementation audit, you’ll need baseline data and goals that were established before your ERP implementation. Companies often either overlook this step entirely or don’t gather enough information ahead of time. Issues to consider during the audit include:
- What were your organization’s objectives in implementing a new business system, and were those objectives met?
- What are the measurable benefits your company receives in the new system?
- What value does the new system bring to your customers?
In addition, there are a number of areas of business impact to consider:
- Level of user adoption
- Stakeholder satisfaction
- Costs versus benefits
The outcome of your post implementation audit is to consider opportunities for improvement. This information may feed into your wish list for future enhancements.
Trek Global provides a thorough post implementation audit service to clients, whether you choose Trek Cloud ERP or another system. If you are considering doing an audit, please contact us for more information and pricing.
Organizations in the ERP Optimization stage use this time to further refine their wish list for future enhancements. Some of the adjustments happen based on your post implementation audit. Others occur as your organization continues to evolve and your needs simply change. You may start to implement some of your wish list now, as you identify higher priorities. Typically, clients will include the following types of features in their wish list:
- Custom reports
- Integrations with other applications
- Enhancements for custom features
- EDI documents
While you may not be able to implement everything in your wish list right away, it’s a good idea to prioritize and create a timeline for when enhancements can occur. We can help you with this planning for any system, and for our own systems we can also carry out the customizations for you. We would also be glad to help you develop a broader Enterprise Architecture strategy that aligns with your business vision.