Why do you need a new ERP solution?

Following feedback from our customers we have recently launched to market a new deployment method for our flagship ERP product. The first of its kind in the UK, Sage ERP X3 can now be implemented in as little as 35 days, using our predefined implementation toolkit designed specifically for UK businesses.

For one week only the Sage ERP X3 Team have taken over the Sage Blog, to hopefully answer all your ERP related questions and share with you the thoughts of our business leaders. In this blog post Sage UK and Ireland CIO, Stuart Lynn, talks us through the process he follows when making the right software choices for Sage.

Why do you need a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Solution?

There has always been a lot of noise around ERP and the benefits it brings to businesses.  Whether you are new to the world of ERP or have worked with a few suppliers, you will appreciate that choosing the right ERP solution for your organisation can be a tricky business.  But it needn’t be – as long as you know WHY you need it.

Great expectationsStuart Lynn

Consult your key stakeholders and be clear about what you, and your team, hope to achieve.  It might be helpful to draw up a wish list of ‘must-haves’ and detail where you are prepared to compromise.

Defining what success looks like will help you manage expectations from the outset and also help to measure the benefits felt by your business.  Ensure this is communicated to the key stakeholders and sponsors in your business – remember they are there to help.

Think ‘out of the box’

When deciding on a supplier ensure you fully understand the functionality that will be delivered as standard, and what will need to be customised to meet the needs of your current business processes.

There is a distinct difference between buying an ‘out of the box’ solution and commissioning a bespoke solution which will meet the needs of every location, department and manager – the main being price and closely followed by the length of time it will take to implement.

This again comes down to understanding the requirements of the business, and locking down the scope of your needs from the outset.

Dream team

Once you have the vendor and the scope in place, it’s time to start thinking about how you would like to manage this project.

  • Set up a programme team – having the right people on board is key to success
  • Lock down the scope
  • Chose a project management methodology that suits your business needs
  • Communicate regularly and socialise change across your business
  • Work closely with your vendor and keep control of the project
  • Track milestones and choose a sensible and achievable time frame for ‘Go-Live’

Implementation and beyond

Implementing an ERP solution is the first step on the road to making improvements across your business.  Now is where the hard work really starts.

Thinking back to the beginning of the project, start to review your objectives, celebrate success and assess what further work needs to be done to ensure you achieve what you set out to.

Choosing an ERP Solution is so much more than software – it will help you shape the strategic direction of your business moving forward.  But don’t get caught up in the theatre of a large project and remember the basics.  Below are my top eight tips to help you achieve what you set out to:

1             You may be introducing a new software solution but you should treat this as a business change programme not an IT change programme.

2             Identify your key stakeholders and work closely with them.

3             Lock down the scope of the change programme at the very beginning.

4             Define and measure your key success criteria.

5             Consider simplifying business processes at every opportunity.

6             Use as much “out of the box” functionality as possible.

7             Choose a vendor/partner with the right credentials and track record.

8             Take accountability for the programme yourself; don’t rely 100% on external help.

Stuart Lynn, CIO Sage UK and Ireland

Read our whitepaper on the changing perception of ERP solutions

If you would like to speak to us to fully understand what’s needed to make a successful ERP selection call us today 0845 111 99 88 or visit www.sage.co.uk/X3