Following our recent blog on the trends in moving to the cloud, the reasons a cloud migration offers flexibility in pricing and licensing, and the first steps of a Cloud ERP migration, we would today like to turn our attention to the process of heading to cloud ERP itself.
The Move from Planning to Executing
By now, you have likely spoken with your employees on what they need and want, gotten buy-in from those in the C-Suite, and documented your needs, you now ultimately have to finalize these decisions and make the move.
Planning a change is one thing, managing and executing it is a completely different experience. Most tech projects start out with the best intentions. But just as you get knee-deep in the deployment, things get tough. You start to realize how different things will be, discomfort sets in, you uncover little processes you forgot about, and the delays come. The whole project begins to rattle like a train coming off the rails.
At this time, it’s likely you’ve gotten people on board with the decision to move forward to a new ERP solution. Your team is optimistic, “dreaming” about the easy life that will come when you automate processes, take control of your business, and make their jobs easier.
While optimism is a good thing to have, it’s not informed optimism. Think of it like a resolution to lose weight or quit smoking. You can dream of the end result, maintain optimism, and plan for a better life, but until you go through sugar or nicotine withdrawals, you don’t know just how bad such a change management process will be.
Key Factors in a Cloud ERP Migration
ERP projects are lengthy and painful; often prone to fail, due in part to lost direction, motivation, or focus. You’ve gotten buy-in, documented your exact needs, demoed solutions from your shortlist, gotten quotes, and made a selection on your vendor and implementation partner.
When working on a months- or years-long implementation project, things can—and often do—go wrong. Often, the right implementation partner can help you to overcome failures, one of the best ways to avoid a complete failure is to recognize warning signs so that you can act to fix them before everything goes awry. A recent article in ERP Solutions Review discussed some of these reasons for failure, noting that there are three key reasons a project might fail: Poor understanding of the problems you need to solve, inadequate planning on your decision, and poor adoption.
Stick to the Game Plan
Cloud ERP is a complex solution for complex problems. With a shelf life of a decade or more (especially now that cloud software updates more often), you are making a decision that will stick with you for years. Knowing this, you are making a decision for today, as well. You’ve gotten a quote and a timeline, any changes at this point will increase both price and implementation time—two things that define implementation success.
Your partner will gladly add functionality or services during the process—but changes come at a price. One of the best ways to avoid failure during the cloud ERP migration process is to stay focused on getting what you need and avoid becoming distracted by all the bells and whistles that could be added.
Luckily, one of the benefits in the cloud is its flexibility. You can always add or remove features or functionality, users, or modules over its life.
Keep People Focused on the End Result
If getting distracted by bells and whistles is one thing, watching your staff roll their eyes at another project meeting is another. Morale will dip during the implementation process, people are going to get sick of running parallel systems and dealing with the long, laborious migration process.
It’s very easy for morale to dip, but this is when the communication matters most. As you transition from development to deployment, reinforce the project vision. Highlight the benefits each department and person will see upon go-live. Outline the project journey so everyone knows what to expect from this point on.
Additionally, make sure your leadership team is keeping a solid front. An executive sponsor should keep people informed of the opportunities while an internal project manager will keep everything on task and celebrate milestones.
Train Early and Often
Employees are the ones that use the ERP systems, so they assume the position of determining its success. If your employees aren’t comfortable using the system, you won’t see the benefits that you’d hope for. This makes training a necessity—long before the go-live date.
The better trained your staff is using the new solution, the more likely they will be excited about hearing that the implementation is nearing completion. This informed optimism is a necessity, and will be critical to the long-term satisfaction with a solution.
The Right Partner is Key—Get to Know Crestwood
We didn’t become one of the biggest and most innovative implementation partners in the United States by failing. At Crestwood, we know what it takes to make sure your implementation goes smoothly and with minimal pain. Get to know more about how we work and get in contact with us for more information.