Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) remains one of the most essential business management innovations, and it is being adopted by businesses across all industries especially those that involve manufacturing and distribution of products. However, the deployment of a new ERP solution in a company comes with its own challenges.
Lack of sufficient training of staff
It is not easy to convince business decision makers to move from a legacy system to a new one unless they understand the value it brings. Resistance to change can only be overcome through reviewing current business processes, being open to relevant improvement opportunities, and awareness/education of what these are. Most times, when a new system is introduced to a company, it will be managed by a select few in the tech/IT team. Considering the size of the business, this might lead to a lag in productivity if every small issue has to be solved by a member of the IT team. The best way to resolve this is by involving and exposing ERP project team members who own an area of business processes (like procurement, finance, manufacturing, distribution) in this journey and provide support throughout the implementation and execution.
Inadequate support from vendors and system integrators
Once the ERP system is implemented, the staff managing it might have some teething problems even after training and handholding.
“As a company we realize that as employees become familiar with the new software and its effect on their jobs, the more proficient they become in their individual roles and the more efficiently they can collectively help the business run. Ensuring that our customers have reliable ERP support when they need it is a key element of our after-implementation service offering. SYSPRO offers ongoing ERP training, education and certification through SYSPRO LearnIt, a platform designed to provide access for external, non-SYSPRO users to SYSPRO ERP online courses on a pay-as-you-go basis,” says Mr. Doug Hunter, Customer and Ecosystem Enablement Manager, SYSPRO Africa.
Due to cost implications, it might be difficult to convince senior management of a company to switch from their legacy systems that seem to work for them, to a modern, integrated, and versatile system. While it might seem as though sticking with an existing system is saving money, paying to maintain and upkeep these legacy systems, as well as missing the business opportunities a new ERP will bring, could cost a business more than they think. It could make it difficult or impossible for a company to embrace digital business transformation and remain competitive.
The best way to manoeuvre this is to ensure key decision makers as well as the staff who are responsible for different business areas such assupply chain, financials, operations etc, are fully involved and understand the benefits, like time saving and efficiency, quick accessibility to data across the company, fraud detection among others. Once the team realizes the benefits outweigh the one concern which is cost, it will be easier to procure and deploy an ERP solution.
Data Safety concerns
While moving from one system to another, there is always the risk or concern of losing or ‘misplacing’ data. This might hold back many businesses from attempting to switch from on-premise servers to cloud-based solutions. Vendors and systems integrators will generally have more sophisticated tools at their disposal to migrate data to cloud ERP, but the tools will only be as effective as the planning and execution surrounding their use.
Mr Hunter says, “businesses looking to migrate should plan their migration, perhaps first begin with less mission-critical components and data, before moving onto more complex applications and systems. This will minimize the risks of errors or data loss and maximize the learning potential and readiness for the exercise.”
Such a staged approach will allow for continuous evaluation of progress made and will contribute to supporting the change management plan by establishing trust in the deployment, while business still runs.
If a company is still relying on a legacy ERP system, it might not have the agility to support these new developments. In the short-term, this leaves management scrambling to solve problems and manage workflows. In the long-term, it ultimately renders a business unable to keep pace with the competition.
It is important for company executives to know that modern ERP technologies with advanced analytics like SYSPRO are revolutionizing the way companies do business. With such capabilities at their disposal, executives are able to make quicker, more informed decisions. They can also adjust their business models to be more in line with customer needs, and easily pivot any time the market changes or a new innovation emerges.