Cloud ERP implementations are in the growth pattern in the last few years. Companies started looking for more agile / quicker implementations to see a difference in the company performance in a shorter value window rather than wait for years to realize a possible return. Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) started to look for ways to more quickly expand their businesses, by freeing up capital. One way companies have found, has been by managing their IT infrastructure maintenance and resources through a Software as a Service (SaaS) approach, including the implementation of Cloud ERP products.
As a program / project manager for several Cloud ERP implementations, I have seen some companies assign internal employees as the customer side PM during the implementation and others have hired external consultants as their customer side PM to assist with the implementation. Regardless of the PM source, a smooth implementation weighs heavily on a PM being knowledgeable and possessing the authority to make things happen on the customer side.
As a benefit to companies who are considering or already planning to implement a Cloud ERP solution I have compiled a list of items that should be considered as prerequisites and precautions before kicking off your project.
The goal of this list is to help you save time and effort while lowering any potential points of frustration on either side, the implementation partner’s or your companies.
- Review the contract well to understand the scope which will help to control scope creep during the implementation
- Spend good amount of time in planning and reviewing the project which will save time for the rest of the phases
- Assign a project team by making sure to include one SME (Subject Matter Expert) or Key User (SAP Business ByDesign terminology) from the beginning of the project
- Better to assign a dedicated team to work on the implementation to go-live on-time than assigning resources part time which might delay the go-live or concentration in the project
- Prepare for change management initiative from the start of the project to have good cooperation from the team to make it a successful project
- If integration / customization is involved in the project, try to gather the business requirements and finalize the scope with the Functional Design Document in the beginning of the project than to wait till the mid or end of the project
- If planning for multiple country / legal entities implementation / rollouts, plan to do it in phases than going live all at once, to have better results in terms of business improvement and employee morale which will also save lot of time, effort and money in the long run
- Option 1: Go-live with Financials for all the countries / legal entities for few months before rolling out other modules
- Option 2: Go-live with all the modules for one country / legal entity and see the results for few months before rolling out to other countries or legal entities
- Review project pre-readings shared by the implementation PM
- Prepare for data migration effort from day 1 of the project so be aware of the data cleansing and validation effort / process
- Pay attention to Solution walkthroughs to see the processes in the new system using your data so that you can understand it well
- Prepare to spend at least 1 to 2 weeks to do Key User Testing before requesting the production system and start the cutover process
- Train your End User, 2 weeks before go-live so that they can understand the process at the right time than doing it early or later in the implementation
There will be other items that needs to be considered for a successful Cloud ERP implementation. My hope is that this list will give you a strong starting point and head you in the right direction.
Navigator Business Solutions has helped over 500 customers achieve improved business performance and revenue growth over their 10+ year history.
Written by Velmurugan (Vel) Jaganathen | Project Manager, SAP Business ByDesign