So, you have decided to implement the ERP for your firm. What next? Here are 10 important tips that subject matter experts the world over insist on, before implementing ERP solutions.
 Have a Road Map
If your board has approved to implement ERP, then the very first step should be to work on the strategic plan for the next year. Detailed discussions on expected outcomes both functionally and financially will help set the goals for the next fiscal year. Once the goals are identified, it would be easier for the Senior Management team to work on a Macro-level plan, execution strategy and training.
 Choose the Vendor Wisely
Based on the requirements, an in-depth market research should be conducted to list out various vendors who provide ERP solutions. Things to look out in a vendor are - Stability in the market, number of years of experience in implementing ERP solutions, list of clientele, features offered and the commercials. An experienced Vendor will always help the clients throughout the implementation process right from planning stage to consulting to training.
 Micro-Manage :: Divide & Conquer
Once you have decided on the Vendor, it is very essential that the Senior Management team and the Expert advisory team from the vendor discuss all the requirements. Detailed checklists for various processes are to be listed down and the feasibility should be discussed with the experts. This in turn will provide a clear breakup of all the functionalities required. These are to be further broken down to micro level tasks, based on unique requirements of every department. Specialists and Managers from different departments should be involved in planning for micro-level.
 Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) :: Work on the complete costing
After the detailed list of functionalities & tasks are decided, the total cost of ownership can be worked out. Investment in Computer Hardware, System Software & licenses, ERP licenses, networking components etc. should be considered. Things like UPS or Generator set, printers, charges for Implementations consultants, consumables like backup CD, toner cartridge, paper, customization charges, Annual Maintenance charges etc. are all to be included for deriving on TCO.
 Involve relevant Staff in planning / execution
Relevant staff & Managers who will be working on ERP very frequently should be involved in the planning stage in order to know the exact requirements of different processes across departments. They should be able to test the functionalities during the execution stages.
 Implement in Stages
Instead of implementing the ERP solution all at once, it’s wise to consider implementing in stages. This helps integrate all the departments and their functionalities in a better manner without lot of glitches. Also, its easier to educate the staff in stages.
 Create Awareness to the Staff
It’s the duty of the Senior Management team and the marketing team to ensure that members of the Staff are aware of the ERP implementation project. This helps the staff to mentally prepare themselves to change their working style post implementation. Posters at prominent locations inside company premises, emails, training programs will help spread awareness.
 Mandate Trainings
It is very important that all the staff are trained in ERP so that they are able to use it without any issues. Training programs should be a blend of theoretical as well as hands-on. Making training programs mandatory and including it as a credential for appraisals will ensure that all the staff undergoes training compulsorily, within the given timeline.
 Have Consultants to assist your staff
Once the ERP solution gets implemented, it takes sometime for the staff to get well-versed with the features and functionalities. A good vendor will assist the staff through team of Consultants, to help the staff wherever required. Staff can call a helpline to get assistance, if they are not sure about something.
 Change Management & Future plans
Implementing ERP implies that, the roles and responsibilities of some of the staff will change. Its very essential, that the Management ensures smoother transformation of roles along with the way the company functions. Based on the Change management plan, companies need to rework on the future goals.
These tips will ensure that ERP implementation process is smoother and happens in a very efficient manner.