An increasing number of educational institutions are implementing ERP systems for improved operational efficiency, making mundane daily processes quick and transparent. However, ERP projects are thought to be complex and risky. Therefore, it is important for organizations to focus on organizational relevance while choosing ERP partners and solutions, and also on risk management to make ERP implementation successful.
ERP systems integration can involve several risk factors and implementation may not be successful if projects exceed time limit and budget, training of staff is inadequate, systems are not upgraded regularly, no back-end support is provided, etc. Therefore, several factors should be considered while integrating ERP systems, and a risk management team should be deployed to mitigate risks and handle challenges. Here are a few points to be considered by the risk management team.
- Number of integration points: A gradual change is always more welcome than a sudden one. Projects that attempt to integrate everything at once are prone to adverse results due to the increased complexity, challenges and large number of inter-dependencies. Scaling down the scope in the beginning and focusing on quick, easy processes can be a key motivating factor for the users. The capabilities and scale of the project can be increased gradually.
- Understanding the requirements: Adequate time should be given to understanding the requirements, and in planning the integration phases. A clear vision helps in matching the solution to requirements, thus reducing changes required to suit the institution or its staff.
- Selecting the right infrastructure: Undertaking an ERP integration project with inadequate or outdated infrastructure can lead to grave challenges and excessive costs. For example, solutions that rely on manual programming or overly complex software can create multiple issues for users.
- Avoiding impractical timelines: Aggressive schedules are fine but impractical schedules must be avoided. Realistic timelines must be set to achieve results.
- Training and support: Introducing change to an organization always carries with it the risk of institutional or user resistance. Training the staff and other stakeholders is the key to achieving results and making the project successful, as they are the end users. Back-end support and assistance is also of prime importance to avoid initial hiccups in operations.
- Introducing testing plans: Testing should be done often to detect problems. Test scripts and automated testing can help ensure accelerated and more complete discovery of problems early in the ERP integration project.
- Sensitive data: An ERP solution handles large amount of data. Some of that data may be sensitive and require additional security. ERP partners should be consulted to ensure security and safety of such data and transactions.
Knowing the risks and challenges involved in ERP implementation allows us to better prevent and manage them. At Jupsoft, we have successfully completed hundreds of implementations and have worked alongside our clients to mitigate risks. Get in touch with us if you wish to discuss any of these risks or others you may be worried about or experiencing. We would be happy to help!