Three Ways to Successfully Implement an ERP
By Adam Drewes
Any small business owner who has ever spent hours shifting between spreadsheets to close their books each month knows all too well the challenges of simple accounting systems.
However, despite the headaches, many of these same business owners also fear the change that comes with trying to upgrade to a more complex one known as an ERP, or enterprise resource planning.
When they start hearing about how the new system will save them time and money, their inner Admiral Ackbar starts yelling out, “It’s a trap!” And if you are too young to fully get that reference, you likely know the meme of the red fish-looking guy yelling, “It’s a trap!”
They have a right to be a little on edge. Companies implementing a new ERP system have historically spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of time to get up and rolling. Industry experts say that about 65 percent of installations go over budget, and 50 percent fail on the first use.
No company is truly immune from the battle with implementing an ERP. Even in the past few years, the industry has seen major, large-scale ERP failures for companies ranging from Avon to Waste Management to Hewlett-Packard to the U.S. Air Force.
Now, for all of the gloom and doom about ERP systems, there are many reasons why companies do switch to them. ERP systems help make reporting easier because more of the core processes to produce the data are in the ERP system. With improved reporting capabilities, your company can make better decisions and improve profitability. With more functions happening in one system, your employees are more productive, complete processes faster and help reduce unnecessary accounting effort.
As a company that specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses make the switch, Kopis has developed some tips that can help you realize when you need to invest in the next level of accounting software.
As Little as You Can but as Much as You Need
Changing systems is a great time to re-engineer your processes, but I have never had a client who struggled to come up with great ideas during a project. Keep a backlog of those ideas and be aggressive in your prioritization for what is actually necessary. When Kopis switched from QuickBooks, we went with the absolute bare minimum of functions. It helped us move more quickly and then we had a better idea of how we would implement other processes.
Focus on Running the Business
We created our product, Adept, to make the transition easier. But, whether it’s using a product or training, focus on the core functions you need to run your business. There will always be exceptions, but if your team isn’t proficient on their normal processes, then you start out of the gate with fire drills.
Resist the Urge to Customize
The move to cloud has changed the game on customizations to ERP systems. What used to hold a system hostage to an older version is a much smoother process to upgrade, but it doesn’t mean you should open the floodgates. Customizations still must be maintained to work with the latest versions. It’s not to say run your business inefficiently to avoid a simple customization, but it’s a balance that can simplify your life if you stay closer to out-of-the-box.
Adam Drewes is the general manager of ERP at Kopis, a Greenville-based software company. Learn more at www.kopisusa.com.