Before you upgrade your ERP system to a new version, you need to have a clear understanding about a few things. Without a decent project plan, you might lose a lot of time and money and your company runs dangerous risks. These are 7 important things to keep in mind:
1. The objectives
Why do you upgrade your ERP? It seems like an obvious question to ask, but surprisingly many organizations cannot provide a (clear) answer. You must clearly define the objectives for your organization. For instance, working more efficiently with the service department, increase your sales revenues or a higher occupancy rate of the rental fleet. Preferably supported by numbers or percentages. Then you have clear goals to pursue and afterwards you can also test whether the upgrade has brought what you were hoping for.
2. The planning
Who is responsible for which tasks and when? In short, that is what the planning is all about. With clearly defined tasks, milestones and results. A decent planning is essential for every upgrade, because it gives you a grip on the project. A planning includes responsibilities for all parties and individuals involved.
3. The team
The upgrade of the ERP system requires time and effort from your people. Think about defining processes, data conversion, testing, training and documentation. Make sure you put together a super team that is motivated, has the right knowledge and has sufficient time available. Especially availability is a challenge. The daily business of course continues as usual, but the ERP upgrade is also of crucial importance for the future.
4. The scope
What is part of the upgrade and what is not? Although the upgrade is an excellent opportunity to clean up data and improve processes, you should be careful not to include too much in the project. For example, start the data cleanup before the upgrade and try to postpone less urgent matters to a second phase.
5. The budget
Put a complete and specified budget together for the upgrade project. And do not base your decision whether to upgrade on the costs, but instead compare it with the expected revenues. Ultimately, the Return on Investment determines whether it is a good decision. Also, make an honest judgement of what you can do yourself and where you need the expertise of the consultant.
6. The infrastructure
It is quite possible that the new version of the ERP system sets different requirements for your infrastructure. Are investments in new servers required? Or in computers or mobile devices? Do you choose for a cloud application? What are the different pros and cons of the choices you have? To get the most out of the software, this must be in perfect order.
7. Change management
The most forgotten - yet essential - factor is change management. An upgrade brings change. Screens and menus that look different, processes that run differently and new ways to collaborate, communicate and administrate. Management must prepare the organization for this. Explain what is going to happen, why, when and make sure people understand the benefits of the upgrade.
Teun Arts is Service Manager at Dysel and it is his job to ensure that customers make optimal use of the software, now and in the future.