Once organization has selected an ERP system for them the next step is implementation of ERP system, which is not only time and money consuming but of utmost importance. Implementation of ERP system is not just one process but a chain of many processes. The proper execution of each process is important for successful execution of the other and collectively all the processes ensure successful ERP implementation.
Analysis of hardware requirements necessary for making the ERP system run with its full efficiency shall be done. If organization has IT infrastructure already, then it should be verified if those systems are capable enough to handle software of this magnitude. Forming a project team dedicated to the responsibility of implementation of ERP system with proper representation of all the departments of the organization and people with sufficient experience and skills shall be done. The team shall be given access to communicate the top management as and when required for smooth working. Inclusion of one representative from the highest management makes the team formation ideal.
Actual implementation of ERP system process begins when organization and vendor together start configuring the ERP according to the needs of the company. The functional analysis document gives complete picture of present working style of the company along with details of problem areas and possible scope of improvement for better working. Certainly no ERP can fulfill the "to be" document of the organization without customization.
ERP software's have rich functionality but still when it is matched with requirements of the company some changes are required to fill in the gap between expected and actual functioning. The gaps are pre-identified in GAP analysis and with the help of this document collective effort by the organization and vendor are made to tailor the ERP software exactly and in the best possible way to match the requirements.
Once the GAP analysis and removal of GAPS is over, ERP is tested in different ways to re-examine its performance and output. Such a test is conducted either by feeding old data and cross checking its results or by test running the whole ERP with the test data, carefully designed to test all the necessary and newly designed processes. This is the most crucial step and sufficient time and resources shall be devoted to complete this step. Test run of the ERP is the last check that can be done before going in for live implementation and if some errors or omissions manage to skip through this test may create serious problems later.
Training is the most important process that should also be given due importance. If the end users of the ERP system are not well versed and feel comfortable in handling the software, positive results will be impossible to come by. ERP change the way of working which might be uncomfortable for the employees but proper training and change management can handle this problem effectively.
Choosing the most suitable implementation of ERP system strategy is the next important step. Organizational hierarchy, problem areas and culture of the company shall be the criteria for choosing the strategy rather than following others. Implementing the ERP across the whole organization at one go, phased approach and mixed approach are few popular ways of doing it. There are no generalized rules for devoting particular amount of time and resources for any step, this shall be decided according to company’s needs and culture.