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ERP Implementation Planning and Vendor Selection

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ERP project success depends upon many factors viz. pre-implementation planning, software selection, vendor selection for implementation, user training, top management involvement etc. Implementation is major and time consuming activity which involves analysis of the business processes, recommendation of good practices, process mapping to the package, data management, training and support. The choice of the vendor is a critical factor as the experience of implementation using standard approach and methodology for implementation, business process mapping, GAP analysis, customizations, project management, and change management are factors of success. Vendor knowledge of the client’s business processes, local conditions are also important factors.

A few important things to consider when planning for ERP implementation are

- Identify the present vital business processes and why?

- Which ERP system meets business needs or goes beyond them?

- Who will be the project champion? – Champion should be from top management, who can take decision on any change in the business processes, if required.

- What is the business culture in the organization and what are its strengths and weaknesses?

- What subcultures does organization have and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

- How can organization apply those strengths and weaknesses to business change?

- What are the weaknesses of the organization and how they interfere with the change?

- What will be biggest and toughest change, and how will organization address them?

- Who will be the responsible for project success or failure?

- Vendor credibility and previous track record for ERP implementation

- Timeframe for this project

- Project team member

- Budget – this should be on higher side, usually budget goes at higher side. We have rarely seen an implementation within a budget.

Most of the times, during implementation organization wish to add few new functionalities or reports, which affect the project timeframe and budget. It would be better to freeze all requirements and define customization scope before project starts.

Before taking final decision on ERP implementation organization must research all available options. Detailed researches before implementation saves money and reduce chances of failure. Select 3 or 4 vendors based on your research and call them for presentation and demo. Do not forget to check their previous implementation track record in similar type of industry or sector. This will ensure you that you are going with right vendor. It is a long term business relationship. Vendor should be good in services at later stage.

Related Books
ERP Making It Happen
The Implementers' Guide to Success with Enterprise Resource Planning
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The book provides the working knowledge to implement superior business processes that yield significant competitive advantage. Implementing software system successfully is a critically important part of running a manufacturing business at a world-class level.

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