While the benefits of ERP systems are numerous, they also aren’t necessarily guaranteed. Transitioning to a cloud-based ERP system is a complicated process. If handled poorly, an organization can potentially not see the benefits of its technology investment for years (if at all). To that end, organizations need to take certain steps to ensure they get the maximum value from their new system.
Follow along for some of these steps.
The Benefits of ERP Systems
When an organization makes the choice to transition to a cloud-based ERP system, they typically are looking for at least one of the following benefits:
- Access to the latest technologies
- More robust analytics and reporting
- Improved operational efficiency/reduced workloads
- A single source of truth for data
- Better security
- Reduction in costs
- The ability to be more innovative as well as agile
- A more accessible solution
Maximizing the Benefits of Cloud ERP Systems
Given the time, money, and resources necessary to transition to a cloud-based ERP system, maximizing these benefits needs to be a top priority if organizations want to see an ROI that justifies its efforts. Here are some ways in which this can be achieved.
Start by Properly Defining Success
Establishing clear, realistic goals early in the modernization process is critical if you want to see the benefits of cloud ERP systems. While this sentiment may seem cliché, it isn’t unheard of for organizations to modernize for modernization’s sake. Fear may prompt some organizations to prioritize a digital transformation without fully defining goals: fear of being left behind by the competition, fear that existing legacy systems may make the organization vulnerable to cyberattacks, or fear that the organization’s lack of innovation will ultimately lead it to be obsolete.
To ensure that the transition to a cloud-based ERP is successful, organizations need to consider their current challenges and then determine how the ERP system can best address those challenges. In other words, it is imperative that both the “why” of the change and the “how” be clear from the beginning, and that the executive team and other key stakeholders are bought into these goals.
At Collaborative Solutions, we like to define success in three different areas:
- Project Success – Did the project stay on-deadline and on-budget? Are stakeholders pleased with the results?
- Program Success – Have the goals defined by the executive team been reached? For example, does the organization now have access to analytics data that was previously unattainable? Are tools like automation truly making work more efficient?
- Adoption Success – This defines success post go-live. What is the adoption rate among end-users? Are users more engaged with the system? Are they sticking with it in the long term?
Clean Up Your Data
The transition to a new cloud-based ERP is the best time to review existing data and clean it up if necessary. For example, an organization may review its vendor data and notice that it is filled with duplicates. Taking a hard look at existing data, filling in any gaps to critical information, and in some cases deleting superfluous records all go a long way to ensuring the move to the new ERP stays on track and ends with a fresh database that the organization can be confident in. It will also make the process of pulling reports in the new ERP significantly simpler.
Collaborative Solutions uses a variety of accelerator tools to pull data from different sources and normalize it.
Look Beyond Your ERP System
The best piece of advice for an organization looking to modernize with a cloud-based ERP is not to limit the scope to just technology. Frequently we find that the organizations that embrace total organizational change are the ones that benefit from the modernization process sooner and to a greater degree. This means evaluating existing workflows and business processes, understanding how the new ERP system can improve upon them, and executing these changes throughout the organization. This means that staff needs to understand what is changing, buy into these changes, and train accordingly.
Organizations need to need to have a clear view of what they are looking to achieve with their modernization efforts, determine how a cloud-based ERP can help achieve these goals, and then determine how to align internal workflows with the new solution. When both the human and technological elements work together, organizations see a far greater return on investment.
To achieve this, we recommend a comprehensive change management strategy that is spearheaded by the C-suite.
A Guide for the Cloud ERP Journey
Please keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of ERP transformation best practices; rather, these are some of the recommendations that apply to most organizations. Naturally, every organization is different, and we recommend working with an ERP consultancy to help find the right path for yours.
For more advice on how to maximize the benefits of ERP systems, check out Guide to Conquering an ERP Implementation:
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