You have done a great job in selecting the right ERP for your organisation and selected the right implementation partner and are confident of a successful implantation. Kudos to you and your team! However, it is important to realize that ERP implementation is not end of the project. To realize the true benefit of ERP, the organization needs to ensure that People, Process and Technology are aligned to the new way of working and is maintained to provide the required results effectively and consistently.
ERP has various facets which needs to be maintained and controlled.
- IT Infrastructure – Server / End User Machines / Network / Bandwidth / IT Security.
- Technical – Base of any software system is a software code and associated database.
- Functional – The way the Business processes work on ERP.
- Administrative – User, Access Rights and Licensing management.
Each of these facets needs to be maintained. We need to ask the consultant / implementation team mainly questions like:
- Who will be accountable for maintaining each of these facets?
- What will be their roles and responsibilities?
- What activities will they be doing on regular basis and When?
- How will all the compliance bereported?
- Have you documented all the process details as implemented on ERP?
- Have you captured all the ERP system settings.
- Have you agreed on how on-going changes to the ERP will be managed / authorized / documented.
- Who will be SPOC for ERP from your team and ERP Technical, Functional & Administrative Support team?
You may need some important roles to be carried out, whether within your organization (this can be performed by one or more person/s) or outsourced to a support partner. This includes, IT Infrastructure Manager, Module Leads (Key user) or Functional Expert, Change Manager, ERP Administrator. Various points which needs to be considered and maintained are:
- Software release frequency and mechanism of update.
- Back-up frequency / method / place of storage / restoration process / restoration drill / business continuity plan.
- IT Security management.
- Software / ERP License / Annual Fee / Technical Support Fee / Cloud Fee management.
- User creation / deletion / change of access rights and other administrative activities.
- Change Management Plan & Process.
- Update of Process Documentation. Essential documents like solution design or technical design is required to be updated and handed over to your team as a reference document for future changes or troubleshooting issues.
- Functional & Technical Incident Management / Service Request Management process including SLAs.
- Training manuals / modules for new joinees / refresher courses.
Garnering the best return from ERP and ensuring effective usage is an ongoing exercise. Go-Live is just the beginning of a journey which can be very rewarding if we keep the basics in mind. This requires clear definition of roles / responsibilities and accountability of concerned stake-holders wrt ERP System. ERP Implementors / Consultants / IT SPoC should be able to put this in place but ensuring that this is operationalized, in the right earnest, is paramount for a smooth and rewarding experience.