Switching to a new ERP program, like Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains), presents great opportunities within your company for increasing efficiency, improved reporting and analytics, and reducing the overall costs of operations. You have successfully completed the software evaluation process and signed the contracts. Should be smooth sailing from this point forward, right? Not so fast. In many ways, the toughest part of a companywide software implementation is just beginning. Your software Implementation project will take time, hard work from everyone involved, and the dedication of your project team. By following these four guidelines, you will have a much easier time with your implementation, whether for Microsoft Dynamics GP or any ERP implementation.
1. Take small steps to the implementation
Schedule your go-live dates as a sequence of smaller steps, instead of all together. Switching your entire business operation and all of your employees over to a new system all at once, can sometimes be too much pressure on your company. Focus on a limited launch with a few departments at a time, allowing your company to work out the kinks, and smooth out the process, before your implementation goes company wide.
2. Focus on the long term benefits of the implementation
Present the implementation internally to give it the appropriate visibility and stress that the management team is in full support. Clearly state that the implementation is an important and beneficial project for the company. Communication is the key to success. Keep communication between the right parties and get them involved early in the implementation.
Build a project team that involves both management and operations personnel. Since the day-to-day operations staff will be the individuals primarily using the software, it is important that they are involved in the decision-making processes. By focusing on the larger picture, you can assemble a team that is committed to the success of the implementation. With an implementation team that is well informed and committed to the project, you can realize your expected benefits!
3. Don’t make the new software feel like the old software
People are naturally resistant to change, and typically have a preference to work with software that they find comfortable and familiar. Switching over to a new ERP software package will, at first, require some adjustments. Microsoft Dynamics GP can minimize this risk, by utilizing the look and feel of other Microsoft products, which will make the switch easier. Do not try to replicate the look and feel of the old software, because the new software is better than the older version, which is, after all, one of the reasons you are making this change! People will learn to adapt to the new software, and will soon realize that their daily tasks have been streamlined, and reporting and communication are now faster and easier.
4. Be flexible with the implementation plan
Every company, and every software implementation, is a little different. Each circumstance may require small adjustments, and these will continue as the project moves forward. Being flexible and adaptable should be the hallmark of your implementation. Beginning with the initial project scoping, requirements gathering and gap analysis, thru the pilot program, user and system testing, your overall project perspective should be focused on achieving your primary goals and objectives. Be prepared for the small deviations that will inevitably occur, and do not let the overall project get derailed. ERP Implementation projects can be successful by working together and focusing on the overall benefits of the new system you will achieve