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Things to consider before implementing an ERP System

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Before implementing an ERP system, what should a business consider first? ERP systems are a multi-step journey that require a lot of people to invest their time and energy into, in order for a successful system to take shape. They don’t serve as a quick fix to solve problems a business has, they are long-term investments with long-term benefits. To find out more, we spoke to one of Neuways’ ERP experts, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Consultant Georgi Nastev…

Two types of customer…

Over my career, I have found that there are often two types of customers. The first group of customers usually have experienced professional growth and understand how an ERP system can aid their growth. They understand that they can utilise the likes of Microsoft Excel and other applications within the Microsoft ecosystem better through connecting everything with Business Central. This type of customer is ready for ERP now – they get it and will have the right expectations for what Business Central can do for them.

The second type of customers have usually heard of ERP systems, but aren’t quite clear on how it can improve their business. They will have heard that it’s something to do with data and your business can be unified and brought together through it but won’t fully understand the unlimited potential of ERP. These businesses are not yet ready for an ERP implementation – they instead must experience further growth and first understand it better first. Otherwise, the result will be an implementation that struggles to work and fit within the business, leaving a dissatisfied customer.

Where to start when implementing an ERP system?

Finance is the first area that will be majorly benefitted by implementing an ERP system. Depending on the company, the Finance system may need a big update, with work needing to be done to digitise physical records and condense duplicated information into one finite document.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can provide a screenshot of the business’ financial health, information such as what needs to be paid to which suppliers and what is owed by customers, for example. Deeper, more detailed statistics can be created by using financial information to help those in upper management gain further understanding of all ongoing business activity.

By linking Finance with areas of the business such as, Sales and Purchasing and Logistic Operations through ERP, the days of inconsistent communications between departments and separated documents that do not feed into one another are over. Get your Finance department right first with ERP and you’re off to a strong start.

Consider the scope of the project

While we know implementing an ERP system is a long-term project, why is it exactly? Well, initially there is consultation to be carried out with the interested business, to understand what they want to get out of their ERP implementation. Once that has been agreed between the two parties, then comes the long-term planning of each implementation stage. This allows employees to be assigned to roles throughout the process to help ease the burden of the implementation.

Then, once initial implementations have been made, a series of tweaks are made to fully optimise and get the most out of the ERP system. The goal is to achieve one singular system for an entire business, for information to feed in and out of, without any chinks in the armour. This takes time to put together and implement.

A business’ management should understand and prepare its workforce for the oncoming change. Job roles will alter for most of the business and staff need to be ready, to ensure there’s no decline in productivity.

To ensure the business is ready for change an appropriate team should be appointed. This has to be carefully managed so that people stay on-board and do not have their head turned. It is all about coping with change and motivating staff in the right way.

A focus on growth

Growth and optimisation have to be thoroughly considered when a business embarks on its ERP adventure. The type of growth a business wants to experience will have an impact on the processes and mechanisms of their desired ERP system.

Let’s go back to the two typical groups of customers from earlier. The first know what they want to achieve as a business and have a strong idea in the way Business Central can help get them there. Of course, by conversing with a Managed Service Provider such as Neuways, they can be guided by experts to help them on their path to growth.

Due to the second group of customers not fully understanding the advantages of an ERP system, it is recommended that they take a step back, in order to look forward. They need to be in a place where they are able to make comprehensive change and not be held back by things such as messy management structures. They should focus on their overall business structure, rather than how an accessory such as ERP can help them to develop. Then, they can think about an ERP system seriously and how it can help them.

While we know ERP systems can help each and every business, they aren’t quick fix to long-standing problems a business might have. They don’t fix poor management structures, or unwilling to change cultures – in fact the full potential of ERP can only work with strong structures and cultures. ERP is great for businesses, but businesses must first make sure they are ready for ERP, in order for a successful implementation.

If you want to discuss a future ERP system for your business with the experts, call Neuways on 01283 753 333 or email hello@neuways.com.

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