How to enable a successful ERP implementation

Adnan Patel
| 10/28/2021
How to enable a successful ERP implementation

A successful ERP implementation can completely transform your organization.

It can save countless hours by automating manual processes for your team. It can show you exactly where your money is going. It can simplify approvals for purchase orders, invoices, expense reports, journal entry order management, and so much more.

But implementing it successfully? That’s a whole other story.

There’s a reason why over 50% of ERP implementations fail. And even if they don’t fail, many organizations run into problems in implementing ERP systems. It’s hard to do well.

All too often, when companies don’t have a good ERP implementation strategy, they’ll accidentally go over budget – or miss timelines and suffer massive delays.

And even though it’s typically the implementer’s fault for not giving you a good plan, you have to bear the brunt of the consequences when it comes time to tell your boss. It’s enough to keep you awake at night.

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So how do you come in under budget, on time, while also making sure you’ve addressed compliance?

Fortunately, we’ve done hundreds of successful ERP implementations – so we know exactly what a good one looks like...and a bad one.

Here are three crucial steps you must take for a successful ERP implementation:

1. Define what the “win” looks like beforehand.

We can’t overstate the importance of clear vision at the beginning. From the get-go, you need to decide how your organization will define the success of this ERP implementation.

Otherwise, you won’t be measuring the right things – and later on, you’ll have a much harder time convincing your boss that this was a good investment.

So decide on the results you want, and then record a starting point you can measure against. You want before/after metrics to see the improvement. If the project goes really well, you want to be able to show everyone why.

2. Demand careful project management – on both sides.

Your ERP implementer should provide you with careful, detail-oriented project management. And you should provide your own project manager to communicate regularly with this person.

Why is this so critical?

Because you need traceability and accountability. So many people have a hand in what’s going on. And someone needs to make sure the mountain of to-dos are all being done on time.

Yes, it’s tempting to overlook this. Yes, it’s an extra cost. But three years down the road, you’re not going to remember the great reason why you set up a certain thing a certain way. However, if you have a project manager creating documentation, you’ll never forget the details of your new money-saving systems.

So have a detailed plan in place, where everyone knows who’s responsible for what. Track your discovery calls. Track your requirements. Record what you’re doing about them. You’ll thank yourself later.

One final note: Project managers should also be “change managers.” We’ve noticed these ERP implementations go much smoother – with much greater buy-in – when there’s a champion on the inside, getting people excited about the change.

Task your project manager with finding a way to reward and excite people – and you’ll likely be pleased with the results.

3. Start learning NetSuite beforehand, to help your implementer build the best solution for your organization.

Your NetSuite implementer doesn’t have the level of information you have about your organization. Therefore, the more you know about the amazing things NetSuite can do, the better your organization can use NetSuite to its full potential.

It helps when you can ask things like, “We’ve got people manually enforcing expense reports. How can NetSuite help us automate this?”

NetSuite has a bunch of short training videos that you can start with to help grow your understanding. Spend a couple hours a week taking courses. This will help you identify and call out things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen in the initial ERP implementation vision meetings.

Learning NetSuite beforehand can help your organization end up in a much different spot by the end. You can squeeze so much more out of NetSuite when you have more knowledge of what’s possible – and your organization will likely thank you for it later.

Put these 3 proven ideas into practice to help encourage a successful ERP implementation.

While no one wants to do extra work, certain things are worth the time and effort.

As Abraham Lincoln famously said, “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”

Based on the hundreds of successful ERP implementations we’ve done, these three strategies can help set you up for a significantly different (and better) outcome – along with more confidence (and sleep at night) – with a successful ERP implementation.

Depend on a NetSuite implementation partner that goes the distance.

We’ve got an implementation model for every need. And when you need continued NetSuite support, you'll still be talking to the same Crowe team you started with.

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The greatest technology in the world means nothing if people don’t know how to use it.

That’s why you’ll want to work with a NetSuite solution provider who can walk you through the steps to make your vision a reality – and get your team ready to roll.

Contact us

Adnan Patel
Adnan Patel
Principal, Consulting
Steven Parker
Steven Parker
Managing Director, Consulting
Alejandro Alvarez
Alejandro Alvarez
Senior Manager