Preparing for an ERP Upgrade – Critical Steps in the Business Transformation Process
Upgrading to a new ERP Release – Why Now?
Now that all users know the processes well and understand how the system functions, here comes another release! The thought of upgrading, going through the ordeal of learning new features, implementing new functionality and determining upgrade costs is overwhelming.
Regardless of what version of ERP you are on, an upgrade decision is in your future. Upgrade projects are often seen as non-strategic initiatives that are required to stay current to be supported by your ERP vendor. These projects can place an undue burden on the organization in the form of costs, resources, risks that the organization would rather not take.
Preparing and going through an upgrade can seem intimidating for many reasons such as limited staff availability, lack of the appropriate skillset or experience, unexpected events in the organization, or other priorities and projects.
Despite obstacles, there may be many opportunities
the data models or output from the tools? If you do not have an analytics tool is there a plan to move to analytics?
Today’s greatest business opportunities lie in the ability to analyze trends quickly and interpret signals to uncover profitable new ways to run your organization while servicing your customers. Analytics provides the tools that will find these opportunities by combining information from your ERP applications and other systems, such as the EMR (i.e. Cerner, Epic), into logical data models.
Consider interviewing key business areas prior to the upgrade. Some areas that should be considered are as follows:
Purchasing: Get greater visibility into detailed spending and understanding spending and performance to effectively negotiate with vendors.
Human Capital Management: Identify cost-saving opportunities and improve personnel management.
Project Management: Monitor project health at any level and quickly identify underperforming areas.
Healthcare Systems: Integrating the data from your healthcare systems with your ERP data.
Symphony leads organizations through a series of critical steps, guided by industry best practices, to prepare them for an ERP upgrade that is not merely an IT project, but also a business transformation process.
ERP upgrade projects are often seen as non-strategic initiatives that are required to stay current to be supported by their ERP vendor. These projects can place an undue burden on the organization in the form of costs, resources, risks that the organization would rather not take.
However, upgrades do not have to be the headache that they often are, or that they are often imagined to be by reluctant managers. There are many opportunities to streamline the upgrade process that lead to efficiencies and, ultimately, bottom-line improvements.
Project Team: A strong project team will consist of a project manager, a senior functional representative for each key module or area being upgraded, and senior IT resources to support the technical effort.
Prior to the upgrade project seek out potential project team members. Choose people who want to be involved, have the appropriate skill set and will work well with the other team members.
Execution Strategy and Executive Buy-In: Align the goals and objectives of the upgrade and the organization in order to meet the business objectives. Create a strong business case to ensure executive sponsorship.
Taking time now to ensure your technology plans are well designed and effectively integrated with your broader business objectives will allow you to realize greater values and success for the long term.
Resources: What resources do you have that can work on the upgrade project? Which resources can be dedicated and which resources are part-time? Are there any other activities that need to be considered that can affect the potential resources (such as year-end)? This is important, as it will affect timelines, project charter, and project planning.
Testing will be key to the upgrade project. Communicate expectations of testing at various points of the project. Has there been turnover in key areas of the user community? If so, some level of training should be planned and budgeted prior to testing.
Establish an Executive Strategy: Build the upgrade project charter. This serves as your final upgrade plan and includes the following pieces:
- Project Objectives
- Change Management Strategy
- Infrastructure Plan
- Project Roles and Responsibilities
- High-level Project Plan
The key to a successful upgrade is a good plan. Avoid a technology-only upgrade strategy. This can be avoided with early planning that involves the business community. Behind every successful upgrade is a good upgrade plan.
Contact Symphony Corporation at: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can guide you through this critical planning phase of your ERP upgrade. Remember that this is not merely a technology project, but rather a business transformation project enabled by IT!