Imagine this: You have seen the new ERP software in a demo, it's running well at companies similar to yours and you have got full confidence in the implementation partner. Then you would rather start today instead of tomorrow with setting up the system in your organization, right? But then you miss out on a crucial step in the project: the diagnosis. During the diagnosis, your organization's key users will discuss all business processes in detail with the consultants. A valuable exercise because it will bring you many advantages:
1. Immediately visible where problems can occur (and how to prevent them)
When you discuss each process in detail, you will reveal things for which there is no instant solution that fully satisfies everyone involved. Perhaps you do not agree on what the process should look like or maybe the software capabilities are insufficient. Anyway; it is always better to discover this at the very beginning than during the implementation. Now you can still work on the process flow, come up with a workaround or customize the software. This way you prevent unnecessarily delay later in the project.
2. Together you will make the best decisions for the organization
Internally, your key users in the ERP project are the experts when it comes to the processes in your organization. The consultants of your software partner are the experts on the other side of the table. By putting them together in one room you bring together a huge amount of knowledge and you will make the best decisions regarding your processes and how to automate them. Your key users know the processes well and especially know where they want to improve. The consultants can use their experience and expertise to advise how the processes can be done faster and more efficiently. After all, you do not want a copy of what you have now, but move a step - or more steps - forward.
3. You save time and money later in the project
In fact, the diagnosis is your first step of the implementation. It is not an extra session that makes the project more expensive, but it is a session that lays the foundation for a smooth and successful implementation. By performing a thorough diagnosis, you get in an early stage an overview of the work in the project and any possible difficulties/obstacles. You can anticipate immediately, saving you time and money. Everyone knows the horror stories of software implementations that get out of hand, projects that go far over budget or never get to a go-live. This is often due to poor preparation. By knowing exactly what you are going to do together before you start, you save yourself this misery.
With an ERP diagnosis you do not eliminate all discussions and do not tackle all problems. An ERP implementation is comprehensive and has a big impact. So without a question you will run into issues that you had not foreseen. And that will lead to heavy discussions and/or difficult decisions. However, by starting with a diagnosis you already solve a lot of issues and the implementation becomes a lot easier.
Remko Gaastra is President of Dysel North America and responsible for Marketing. He discusses on a day-to-day basis the risks and challenges (potential) customers experience with software.