How to get the most from your new ERP solution: Go live is just the start

How to get the most from your new ERP solution: Go live is just the start

Choosing and then implementing a brand spanking new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution can be both exhilarating and even a little overwhelming. But once done, you can sit back and watch business being done simpler, better and faster.

Right?

Well, not quite.

While we wouldn’t want to say, ‘the hard work starts once the implementation’s signed off’ (purely because so much hard work went into getting you to this point), the truth is that there remains much to be done.

One way of looking at it is that the freshly signed-off implementation is a foundation for how good your system can eventually be. There are still multiple tweaks to be made, training and change management for your staff members, and almost certainly, a ton of integration work to be done with the systems of suppliers and partners.

Bear in mind, too, that ERP software is constantly enhanced with new features and functionality being added. Further, when your ERP goes live, it is configured to reflect your workflows and business as it is right now. This will change, and your system will need to change with it.

While that might sound exhausting, take some comfort from the fact that business almost certainly will be simpler better and faster immediately. It’s just that a sound foundation needs walls, windows and doors and a roof. And then some flash new furnishings, too.

That’s the task which awaits.

Tackling it should start with the development of a plan or roadmap for your ERP to make the most out of this technology asset. You’ll want to work with your partner for the long-term, including leveraging the support we’ll provide, and evaluating the best times to upgrade. It’s arguable that at this stage of the game – go live – the true nature of your relationship with your partner will become clear: our job isn’t done, not by a long shot.

Directly after ‘go live’, it’s highly valuable to work with us through how the system is working in practice, seeing ‘in the flesh’ how transactions are going through the relevant modules, such as AR, AP, Inventory and the GL.

And in the few weeks directly following go-live, we’ll be working very closely with you because this is an enterprise software implementation, and weird things are highly likely to crop up.

The first month-end is an acid test, with processes like statement and supplier payment runs executing for the first time. Our team will validate that all processes run as they should, recons and transactions balance, and the system is working as it should. And if there be dragons (or gremlins) as there often are, there will also be Verde help at hand!

This is also the time to maintain a close focus on staff; you would have provided training as a component of change management, but directly after go-live is realty where the rubber hits the road (and where the change, because it is now happening, will need to be managed and reinforced). After all, it is at this point that staff members will be doing things differently. You want to provide support, clear lines of communication, and even comfort.

Change is hard for everyone; don’t underestimate its impact because this can mean the difference between success and failure. Reiterate the value and benefits that the new solution provides. The new way of working might be uncomfortable for some, but it is worth it.

After those first few weeks, we’ll do an official handover, but we still won’t be riding off into the sunset, or anywhere else. The handover signals the point at which you move from ‘implementation’ to ‘support’  (in other words, both you and us at Verde are satisfied that things are running well) and then we’ll settle into maintaining regular contact, sorting out any other issues as they pop up, keeping an eye on developments from the vendor side of the table and bringing your attention to new versions, features and benefits which could be useful to you.

With the complexity of modern business, your ERP solution reflects an ongoing engagement; your choice of ERP partner could even be equated to a marriage. A good partner is indispensable. You want someone reliable, proven and capable of understanding not only your business and its environment, but the bigger picture. After all, as more and more systems up and down the supply chain are interconnected, being able to pinpoint an issue, even if it isn’t within your infrastructure, is invaluable.

Juanita Potgieter

Juanita Potgieter

With over 10 years’ experience in various marketing fields, Juanita is an action-oriented Marketing Manager with a proven track record of creating marketing initiatives and managing new product development to drive growth. Prior to joining Verde, Juanita worked within strategic business development and marketing management roles at several international companies.

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