Successful ERP implementation depends upon few highly critical factors which are largely due to size and complexity of the ERP projects. ERP implementation is a major investment and commitment of any organization and by keeping in consideration the major factors those play a vital role in deciding the success and failure of implementation process, management of any organization can increase the chances of successful ERP implementation.
According to the views of experts highly critical successful factors of ERP implementation are support from top management, project planning and team, business process re-engineering, phased approach and change management. These factors are highly critical in the combined views of companies, vendors and consultants. For taking care of other factors, support from top management of the company throughout the entire process of implementation is most important as without that proper execution of the process is not possible. Some decisions like taking services of an external consultant for functional analysis, which is an important document in the process, building an efficient and skilled team to plan and execute the project, will be made at top level of management and can prove very vital for successful ERP implementation.
Project team shall comprise of members from all the departments of the company and proactive managers shall be given priority with sufficient experience and knowledge. This team should be able to set project goals, estimate cost and identify high level business requirements. Selection of most suitable enterprise resource planning software and its viability shall also be accessed by this team and detailed study shall be done on the reasons to implement enterprise resource planning software.
ERP brings in lot of changes and some of these changes are small and some huge, top management's support is required as well as necessary determination and understanding is also needed from lower executives to top management to accept those changes. Automation of the processes sometimes reduce the flexibility in working, such changes shall be readily accepted and allowed after detailed study of all possible outcomes, instead of choosing customization to push the ERP system to adjust according to the on-going process.
Handing over of the ERP system to the employees shall be done in phases rather than at one go, a dry run of the whole system which may include all the key players of company who will be handling the project when it goes live, is very beneficial. This gives users sufficient time to understand the changes and ways of working and handling the new system. Change management also gets easier with this approach and project team also gets a chance to analyze the software's capabilities before feeding of live data begins and if they encounter any omissions and errors those can be corrected before hand.
Some other factors which may not be considered as critical as above mentioned factors but have a serious role to play in the successful ERP implementation, are, data conversion, flexibility of the database, identification of KPIs to improve ROI and support from vendor. All of these factors are crucial as any of these can become very huge if not handled and sorted properly at the implementation stage and if ignored completely can create serious operational problems at later stages.