Top Cloud ERP Implementation Mistakes (and How to Avoid them)
Cloud has become the deployment model of choice across many software sectors, including enterprise resource planning (ERP). As workhorses that manage most (if not all) of an organization’s activities, ERPs are being implemented in the cloud (21%) or via software-as-a-service (64%), with just 15% of global companies using on-premises ERP software.
With 84% of enterprise workloads now in the cloud, 30% of IT budgets being allocated to cloud computing, and most organizations leveraging an average of five different cloud platforms, the push to move software into the cloud has been going strong for years now. The global pandemic, which forced more people to work remotely, accelerated the trend.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has become the ERP market tipping point,” IDC’s Mickey North Rizza, told CIO, “quickly educating organizations on the need to digitize the business with modern cloud ERP systems.”
With the global ERP software market forecast to grow at about 7% in 2021, CIO says new spending is being driven by increased adoption from midsize organizations, particularly those moving to SaaS-based ERP. “But before you jump into an ERP project,” it cautions, “it’s best to be aware of the pitfalls enterprises have encountered before you.”
Know Before You Go
As with any major software implementation, the cloud ERP presents new challenges for companies that are using it for the first time. Where cloud-based software puts less strain on internal IT infrastructure and provides faster implementation times, simpler upgrades, subscription-based pricing, and high levels of security, it also requires an experienced implementation partner to get to these and other benefits within the desired timeframe.
“Cloud ERP implementations cannot be done with just a single click of your fingers,” Analytics Insight cautions. To ensure the best fit, it advises mapping out all goals for the implementation, and then using an effective and well-planned roadmap. That roadmap will help guide the implementation team through the process, and help break down larger goals into smaller, achievable steps.
In most cases, data migration is the biggest sticking point for companies that are moving from on-premises software to cloud-based ERP. In fact, just the idea of having to migrate data from one system to the next—and possibly losing or impacting that data in the process—can keep a company from moving to a modern, cloud-based ERP.
“For a successful ERP project, an organization needs to conduct an assessment of how legacy data is being stored, how it can be aggregated, unlocked, and aligned with the new ERP system,” CIO points out. “The organization also needs to figure out how it plans to integrate data from ERP, CRM, and other systems in order to provide a complete view of business processes.”
The right implementation partner can help you identify the current location of all relevant data and then come up with a plan for getting it into your new system in an effective and painless manner. That partner will also help you identify missing data, inconsistent data mapping, duplicate data, poorly-defined values, out-of-date data, invalid syntax, and other issues that can interfere with a successful data migration.
Get Your People Involved
Successful ERP implementations require the right mix of people, processes, and technology. If any part of that three-legged stool is left out, the results may not live up to expectations.
“The truth is, ERP technology will only be as good as the people using it,” TechGenix states. “So, the company is responsible for ensuring that the employees receive sufficient training.” For example, the chances of a successful ERP implementation go up significantly if your staff gets comprehensive training and is motivated to actually use the technology.
“What’s more, they should have enough know-how and expertise to carry out proper testing for determining whether the ERP system meets all the business expectations and requirements,” TechGenix continues. “Otherwise, the system will not perform correctly when deployed. Testing is also a great way to recognize what your employees have learned so far and highlight queries, so they can be resolved before the ERP goes live.”
Get Beyond the Planning Stage
The initial planning stages are an important aspect of any large project, but there’s also a tipping point where that planning becomes too much and begins to impact the overall success of the project. Because of their wide scope, ERP implementations can be especially prone to this kind of overthinking.
“It’s important to plan, but it’s also important to recognize that conditions on the ground change quickly, and [that] you can’t plan for everything,” CIO states. “Don’t go overboard with the planning phase to the extent that it stifles progress. If the planning stage takes too long, then the company will be losing out on all of the opportunities and benefits that an ERP upgrade can deliver, while competitors are gaining an advantage.”
A real opportunity to identify and redesign business processes, a successful ERP implementation requires buy-in across the organization. Be sure to allocate the proper resources, lay out your company’s needs, document the processes, and select an implementation partner that knows what it’s doing.
As a NetSuite Solution Partner, CEBA Solutions utilizes a time-tested methodology that not only ensures a successful implementation, but that also minimizes the challenges companies face when adopting a new cloud ERP. By working with a reliable partner like CEBA, and by following the advice outlined in this article, you’ll be well positioned to the get the biggest benefits out of your new cloud ERP.