3 steps to adopting ERP for the new digital workplace

  • Posted on January 23, 2017

adopting ERP

The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Nick Lefkonidjates.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tends to have a bad reputation. Its implementation is renowned for requiring big capital investments and lengthy, multi-year schedules. And once installed, not all businesses immediately see the value  [CLICK TO TWEET].

But this doesn’t have to be the case. Which is why we’re declaring the old view of ERP as dead.

ERP systems have been around in business for a long time, and just like most other enterprise software of its age, it was designed with the past in mind.

To extract the best possible value from ERP today, businesses need to look for solutions that are aimed at tomorrow’s digital workplace. Cloud technology, flexible architectures, and new digital capabilities are creating modern ERP systems that fit this bill.

That said, ERPs are complex systems. In order to achieve success, proper management of the implementation process is crucial.

1. Develop a Robust Business Case

The first step to pursuing a digital workplace with ERP is to assess your key challenges. For example, is it a need to reduce costs, streamline processes or grow the business? Analysing the root of the issue will help you to prioritise the investment.

Outline how a new ERP will benefit your overall operations. This can be done by assessing the costs, outlining the priorities, and determining the ROI. And explain how a new ERP system will fit in with your digital roadmap. Potential functionality will need to sit alongside suitability to ensure the new system will integrate not only with your current technology, but any future technology you plan to use.

2. Find the Right Partner

One of the main challenges surrounding a new ERP system is that the solution deployed doesn’t always solve the problems it was designed to. There is a disconnect between plans, delivery and expectations.

This often stems from providers overpromising during the initial scoping process, claiming they can add extra functionality (to pass stakeholder approval), or offering unrealistic capabilities (to present a more attractive business case). This kind of thing can quickly cause the process to become an expensive time-sink.

To prevent this, you should look beyond ‘the label’. Look for a provider that has a thorough understanding of your industry vertical and micro-vertical, as this will help speed up migration. And make sure they can leverage industry best-practices to meet your needs.

3. Aim for Sustainable Change

With a properly designed and implemented ERP, your IT department has the opportunity to gradually lower its running costs, and your wider business can improve its productivity, efficiency and data quality. These benefits in turn can lead to a boost in customer service and improvement in staff morale.

But the key to this happening is making sure that change is sustainable. Any capabilities that are built into a new ERP system need to be adaptable to the changing needs of the digital workplace.

And just as with any new system, it’s important to be open to continuous improvement by identifying new opportunities, even when things have gone live. Proper cultural follow-up will also be essential, as employees will need a helping hand in embedding the new system into their ways of working.

Take Advantage of a Modern ERP

Adopting ERP for the new digital workplace can transform all areas of a business; they can help businesses grow their operations, better meet demand, and improve the chances of capturing greater market opportunities.

The rewards are enticing. Yet the journey to them can be full of challenges. If you’re considering updating your systems, make sure you manage your change process for optimum success. And be sure to check out the Avanade ERP Reimagined website.

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