Step 1: Internal Preparation
At some point in your business life, you will become dissatisfied with your current hardware or software situation. You may have a business opportunity that you want to pursue, but can’t without first making some changes. Perhaps you are dissatisfied with your productivity numbers. Or, one or more of your vendors may be making new demands on your business. Perhaps some customers are requiring new processes or new information, or maybe your business processes are interfering with your business objectives. Or it may be that your software is no longer supported, or you have simply outgrown it – thus forcing you to change. Whether it is in response to a business problem, issue, opportunity or challenge, it really doesn’t matter. Ultimately, you need to make a change to your business management system – and we want to help you ensure that you do it right.
Your first challenge is to do your homework. If you haven’t read our earlier series on Before You Change Business Management Software, we’d highly suggest you do so now. Preplanning is the most important step of a new software implementation and these blogs will help you lay the foundation for change.
Next, you’ll want to develop a methodology that will enable you to navigate the maze you will be facing over the next several months. The good news: this is what we do here at Business Automation Specialists of Minnesota. We have helped hundreds of other companies just like yours, successfully implement new technology, streamline processes and improve efficiencies. While the next several blogs will be specifically aimed at ERP accounting, CRM, EDI, Web stores, Business Intelligence, or IT projects, the principles can be used on any project you may take on, such as a plant expansion, process re-engineering, new product development or a new market expansion. The concepts and processes are the same.
We don’t recommend taking on a project like this without the help of a team like ours. Just as you could draw a house plan yourself and probably could build a house by yourself; you may be able to implement a new business management system by yourself. However, unless you have done these technical tasks frequently, you will likely take much longer than an architect or a builder who does this professionally. Your return on investment may be delayed by many months, or perhaps years, while you untangle that maze of processes and functions to best accomplish your objectives. (We spent two years and many hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars learning Microsoft NAV in order to provide our clients an acceptable level of implementation knowledge, skills and processes.) Additionally, your result may be less satisfying and more expensive than if you use a professional.
Consider these questions as you decide whether you should take this on yourself: How much energy will I divert from my business to select and implement this business system? Will I be as satisfied with my results as I would be if I contract someone whose profession is ERP implementation? How much longer will it take if I do this myself? How many missteps will I make?
Selecting, installing and implementing a new automated business management system may be the toughest business challenge you face because it is not something that you do frequently and the results of the process are so critical to your business. Failure in this project can be catastrophic to your business health. If you would rather not go it alone, give us a call. We will be happy to help.
Additionally, stay tuned to our blog in the coming weeks where we will be providing some steps that you can take to ensure a successful project.
Your first focus as you embark on this project should be on internal preparation. Your new business management software will have its own set of benefits and challenges; so it is important that you first understand your objectives. Do not confuse methods and processes with objectives, goals and requirements. Determine what you want to accomplish. Do not make procedural decisions based on your current knowledge level. Your new software will have several ways to enable you to get each task done. You will not know the “how-to” yet, but you must know the “what-to-do” now.
Concentrate on, document and clearly communicate your goals, objectives and requirements. Think outside the constraints of your current software, hardware and business environment. Build the vision for your business system and for your business. Use this process to refine your business processes as your people refine their understanding of your business objectives. It is always a good idea to meet with staff members from all levels of your organization to ensure you have a broad, deep view of these requirements.