ERP Go-Live Triumph: 10 Insider Tips for a Successful Infor M3 and Infor CloudSuite Implementation
It was in 1999 that a globally renowned chocolate manufacturer set the benchmark for what not to do when a business navigates its ERP implementation. Although they embarked on an optimistic journey to replace their legacy systems with a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system aiming to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and gain better visibility into their supply chain, the implementation encountered significant challenges and setbacks. The project experienced delays, resulting in a compressed timeline for implementation. Insufficient testing and training were also reported, leading to a lack of preparedness among employees. As a result, the system struggled to handle the surge in orders during a crucial period for chocolate sales – Halloween.
It is incredibly important that your ERP supports your business’ growth ambitions as legacy systems can be a death knell for innovation. While implementing an ERP system can seem like a significant undertaking, it can transform your organization’s operations, enhance efficiency, and drive growth. A successful go-live requires careful planning, meticulous execution, and effective management of various factors. In this blog, we will guide you through the key steps and measures you can take to ensure a smooth and successful ERP implementation go-live.
Define Clear Objectives
Let’s start by clearly establishing your goals and objectives for the ERP implementation, ensuring alignment with the organization’s overall strategy. Clearly communicate these objectives to all stakeholders involved.
Then move on to develop a detailed project plan that outlines the timeline, tasks, and responsibilities. To do this, you must identify potential risks and develop contingency plans to mitigate them. Ensure that all necessary resources, including personnel, budget, and infrastructure, are allocated appropriately.
Involve key stakeholders from different departments or business units early on in the process. Seek their input, address their concerns, and keep them informed throughout the implementation. Encourage their active participation and foster ownership and buy-in.
Comprehensive Requirements Gathering
Conduct a thorough analysis of your organization’s requirements and processes. Engage end-users to understand their needs and expectations. Document and prioritize these requirements to guide the configuration and customization of the ERP system.
While conducting your analysis, it’s important to underscore inefficiencies and broken processes in your current system so that they aren’t carried through to the implementation stage. The re-engineering phase must include designing new and more efficient workflows. Utilizing gap analysis and identifying distinctive nuances that may require customizations of the ERP. Present these gaps to your implementation partner and ask them to scope solutions.
Select the right ERP Partner
Choose an experienced ERP vendor or implementation partner that aligns with your organization’s needs. Ensure they have a strong track record and expertise in implementing ERP solutions in your industry or sector. While most ERPs offer a broad spectrum of functionalities to support various business processes, the success of your ERP implementation relies on finding a partner who possesses the necessary expertise to tackle your unique business challenges. Infor’s ERP systems are finely attuned to such industry complexities; with a thorough understanding of specific industries and workflows, they offer industry-specific capabilities for a business to optimize their unique processes. As such, your ERP partner must be able to create customized solutions to address specific pain points; it could vary from concise reports for your organization’s c-suite, bank integrations to streamline payment information, human resource management accumulating employee data or more. Dive into case studies and engage in comprehensive conversations with the project team.
In your pursuit of the ideal ERP partner, consider some of the following questions to make a well-informed and strategic decision.
• Is the technology turnkey or will it need to be customized to your business processes?
• Are the features compatible with your existing technologies across the entire organization?
• Will they work across all aspects of the organization; from marketing to accounting to HR and so on?
• Will the system grow with your company?
• Do you want a cloud-based or on-premise deployment?
• Does the technology offer industry-specific features and capabilities?
Rigorously test the ERP system to ensure it meets all functional and technical requirements. Perform various testing scenarios, including system integration, data migration, performance, and user acceptance testing. Resolve any identified issues or gaps before proceeding to go-live.
We understand that system testing is complex and manual efforts might not always ensure a holistic approach. That’s why Fortude developed Fortest, a robust automation regression testing tool that saves time and enhances productivity by automating testing processes for both Infor M3/CloudSuite applications and non-Infor M3 applications.
Ensure your company’s needs are met, or in an instance where the authentic ERP system doesn’t address a necessity, the ERP partner you choose to collaborate with has the expertise to develop customizations for you.
Data Migration and Training
Migrate relevant and accurate data from the legacy systems to the new ERP system and maintain business continuity.
Fortude has developed two distinct products, namely M3 Data Mover and M3 Data Upload Tool, exclusively for its Infor M3 and CloudSuite clients. These cutting-edge solutions facilitate the seamless import of transactional and master data into Infor M3, from both on-premises and cloud-based data sources, ensuring a swift and efficient process. Additionally, the M3 Data Upload tool enables hassle-free bulk data uploads to M3 while keeping the transaction history intact.
Moreover, develop a comprehensive training plan and provide adequate training to end-users to ensure they can effectively use the system. Consider providing ongoing support and refresher training post-go-live.
Building a digital-ready culture is crucial. Implement effective change management strategies to address the organizational and cultural aspects of the ERP implementation. Communicate the benefits of the new system, manage resistance, and provide support to users during the transition period.
Conduct a thorough go-live readiness assessment to ensure that all necessary preparations are in place, including system configurations, data integrity, user access, and contingency plans. Perform a final system check to verify that all components are functioning as expected.
Post go-live support
Finally, allocate dedicated resources for post-go-live support to address any immediate issues or concerns that may arise. Continuously monitor and evaluate the system’s performance, gather user feedback, and make necessary adjustments or enhancements. Go-live isn’t the end so engage with an Application Managed Services partner like Fortude to conduct system check-ups and maintenance post go-live. An application Managed Services partner can also help you train your in-house resources to fully harness the functionalities of your new ERP system. And as your business grows, your ERP partner must enable you to expand as needed, supporting you with system extensions, integrations and enhancements.
The 1999 chocolate catastrophe, as well as the other ERP implementation failures that occurred over the years, have provided the industry with numerous key learnings. This debacle saw the manufacturing giant revert temporarily back to manual processes, seek assistance from external consultants, spend heavily on extra workers, training and millions on communications to regain customer trust. The failure cost the business a 19% sales drop in quarterly profits and an 8% decline in stock price.
We know that ERP is a powerful implementation, however, it’s important to note that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) serves as a strategic addition to ERP systems. While ERP systems excel at streamlining and automating various core business processes, RPA takes this to the next level by seamlessly integrating with ERP software to handle repetitive, rule-based tasks that require manual intervention. By doing so, RPA not only increases the efficiency and accuracy of these processes but also reduces human errors and frees up valuable human resources to focus on more complex and strategic tasks. Moreover, RPA can work across different applications and systems, enabling data exchange and process automation beyond the confines of the ERP system, thus driving end-to-end automation of various business workflows. The synergy between RPA and ERP empowers organizations to achieve greater productivity, cost savings, and a significant competitive advantage in the ever-evolving business landscape. Find out more about why automation is a c-suite priority here.
If your business is keen to explore the benefits of a successful ERP implementation, remember that pre-planning, setting clear objectives, and briefing all stakeholders is crucial. However, continuous improvement is key. Regularly review and optimize your ERP system based on feedback, changing business needs, and evolving industry trends.