An implementation partner can make or break your ERP implementation.
When a project is being implemented by the implementation team, two stakeholders are involved. The implementation partner (IP) and the customer. Most implementation partners and their project team have a project mindset, their objective is to resolve immediate obstacles of the project and bring it to the end of term. Usually, the easiest approach is looked at, with a completion outlook and not consumer added value. ERP systems must be observed as an overall vision for the company with no definite end goal but rather as something you are working on every day and growing. It differs from the project mindset because here we look at the value that’s added after implementation. ERP is implemented with the expectation that there will be future benefits. That is the ongoing company vision.
These different approaches can also be looked at differently. An example can be observed in the case of a customer asking the question, How can I enter and approve an invoice in NetSuite Cloud? An individual with the project mindset would suggest:
Manually enter it in AP to validate it and send it for approval. Once it is approved you can enter manual payments, then when the statement comes, you can upload it into the cash application manually following a manual reconciliation. Then you can regularly run the process to create accounting, accounting for the transactions, both invoices, payments and reconciliation. In about 99% of ERP implementation processes, this solution is applied. This type of project plan and management mainly focuses on getting the task done but it hasn’t been successful in adding extra value, time is spent on entering data but the controls are not being improved. Tasks such as lowering costs or improving relationships with vendors aren’t being catered.
Keep a long term vision of your ERP implementation project
In comparison, a vision outlook can be approached differently. Let’s say the vision for the company is having a few custom process automation. Then you would suggest to a customer to automatically import invoices onto the system, do a basic verification followed by a manual hold. A notification alerting the hold would then be sent to a user who can do the final verification, and finally releasing the hold. A scheduled program can also be set up to send eligible invoices for approval, accounting of invoices, and create a payment batch. The next step would involve a payment file automatically sent to a bank once approved, followed by the bank sending a statement once payments have gone through.
This type of business process scales data entry to a minimum which would reduce user’s work and allow them to aid in tasks that would create better cash flow and strengthening relationships. So why aren’t ERP implementations focusing on the true vision that can come with a cloud software solution?
1. Often, project managers themselves don’t take the visual approach. They begin work and daily routines without a digital innovation context. They begin laying the foundation without truly understanding how the finished project will look like. Such type of project management is not ideal.
2. Lack of communication, the end-user isn’t aware of the vision or the potential that the new system is capable of in the digital transformation of their work responsibilities. The vision of a paperless business operation, or streamlining business functions isn’t passed on.
3. Pressure from the implementation partner, as the project progress eventually the implementation partner converts the initial vision into a project mindset. With everyday duties such as reports, meetings, change requests and cost increases, the implementation partner begins to wear down and develops a “get it over with somehow” mindset.
It’s a sad reality that sometimes is hard to avoid, but pushing for a vision mindset will set the foundation for how your ERP implementation project will succeed, ultimately allowing your business operations will flourish. A vision helps to articulate the outcomes that the organization wishes to gain. A goal that the organization is continually working towards.