Top 5 Tips for Implementing ERP in Startups
A good number of startups are looking forward to ERP for the industry-ready tools and processes it promises. ERP deployment is also more cost effective for a newbie as it streamlines the business processes, making operation much simpler. Also, a startup, unlike an established company has lesser areas of implementation, which means almost zero expenses for legacy applications or change management. Your organization (which already brimming with potential) can take off in full force, powered by ERP.
However, ERP implementation requires forethought, research, and references. And when it comes to choosing ERP solutions for a startup organization, the challenges are manifold. One needs to know the common mistakes, challenges, and risks, related implementation.
Here, we discuss a few tips that would help startups in a smoother and faster ERP deployment, with minimal risks involved.
1. Well-defined Requirement Planning:
Requirement gathering is the first and foremost thing that you need to for effective ERP implementation. Arrange a meeting with all relevant stakeholders (including end users and IT staff) to analyze the organizational needs. Focus upon the specific business processes and system requirements, when garnering the requirements. Pay due importance to cost and maintenance, as well. It is also advisable to talk to references who have already implanted ERP, for better insight. Remember the requirements of a startup company are vastly different from a big shot. So, plan accordingly.
Once the requirement plan is ready, look for a vendor, who can provide you with standardized ERP applications, with tools and features. Make sure that you have clarity on the long-term benefits and 1. ROI, before you invest.
2. Getting a Fool-Proof Implementation Plan Ready:
One of the common mistakes of ERP implementation is incorrect approach to planning. Traditionally, most companies follow a waterfall model, which focus on the end result, forgetting the small developments happening on the way. While this may work at times in larger organizations where a huge amount of capital and resources are invested, small and medium enterprises run the risk of incurring a major setback. If you are a start-up owner then the agile model would be best for you. While preparing the implementation plan, you have the liberty of reviewing changes at regular intervals and modifying accordingly. Make use of the agile methodology in creating a flawless implementation plan that involves end-users at every step to determine the requirements, perform critical tests to find gaps in the plan and get them corrected, till fully implemented.
3. Understanding Change Management for Good:
When you are implementing ERP in your organization, pay due importance to effective change management. This is more important for a start-up because it prepares your employees for a change, and more importantly, streamlined process. This would also ensure higher productivity and business success. In short, it makes the organization more business ready. The business transformation through ERP needs to be communicated to the executives, managers and employees, at all levels, well in advance. Necessary planning, technological preparedness, organized training schedules need to be planned for seamless change management across people, process and technology, simultaneously.
4. Having a Well-Defined Maintenance Plan:
Most companies overlook maintenance plan and in the process they also forget about loopholes in the business process or outdated ERP applications. This, in turn affects employee productivity and lowers down business value for the organization, a strict no-no for any start up.
With a well-thought out maintenance strategy in place, your employees are aligned with the maintenance process and regular updates. While making maintenance plan, also make sure that your organization is well equipped for planned and unplanned system outages. Having a diligent maintenance plan enhances business value by ensuring that the ERP system (customized to your organization needs) with the latest applications running smoothly.
5. To be clear about Customization needs:
One of the primary requirements behind ERP implementation was the streamlining of business processes through standard applications that anybody can make use of, such as generating invoices, collecting business revenue, and procuring supplies. Most of these business processes are standardized, tested for efficiency, and professional. You may of course, go for turnkey solutions with customized features for your organization. But remember it is not just the initial cost of implementation that matters, customized solutions require long-term maintenance and regular upgrades. Nevertheless to say, it becomes a recurring expense for your organization. Being a startup, it is advisable that you stick to the more standardized ERP applications for business operations, for lesser cost and higher business efficiency. With more customer success, you can switch to customized applications. By then, your organizational needs will also be more refined, helping you decide better.
Migrating to ERP has become a sure shot success formula for most startups today, because of the cost-effective cloud-based tools it offers. They can also make their presence felt across multiple platforms, mobile, web or other hand-held smart devices. Organizations can start small and grow at their own pace, making use of benefits like easy connectivity, subscription-based payments, and remote resources.
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