ERP Integration Guide: Best Practices

ERP System Integration

ERP integration is a significant project with implications that will last 10 – 20+ years.  The ERP is the backbone of all business processes and becomes the single ‘system of record’ for all information in the organization.  The transition to an ERP system means leaving a fragmented combination of spreadsheets and discrete software products that have been manually reconciled over the years.  This should be a refreshing opportunity for a vast improvement in efficiency and quality of information through the ERP system integration process.

ERP Integration Strategy

The key to ERP integration is attitude.  The attitude of the organization’s leadership in providing forward-looking inspiration and support and attitude throughout the various stakeholders.  Everyone needs to be ‘on board’ and share the vision of the future.  If this ‘attitude’ isn’t shared and individual staff members continue with their fragmented approach, then the new system will be destined to fail.  

Typically we see an executive-level ‘steering committee’ having the overall responsibility of the project as a vital part of this initiative.  The steering committee should have representation from top management and delegates from the implementation team, so that monthly (or more often) status meetings can be held.  During these meetings, primary dateline goals are established and reviewed, budget is established, and periodic budget updates are presented. At a high level, the steering committee is kept abreast of the critical aspects of the project.

The implementation team is the more focused team, with representatives from each primary business unit.  The people on this team should each have an area of responsibility. For the period of the implementation, either be dedicated full time or be given a significant portion of their time to work on this initiative.  

The general project plan and schedule of various implementation aspects are mutually established by the implementation team and the ERP vendor.  The ERP vendor guides the process and provides training and supplemental resources. At the same time, the implementation team attacks the internal business details to be sure that all stakeholders are supplied with the correct information on rolling out the product in their area.

During the ERP integration process, the implementation team members become ‘super users’ with a broad understanding of the project.  Participating in this process could be very important for ‘up and coming’ managers who are on track to become top managers of the organization.  During implementation, they will have broad access to all aspects of the system, where after ‘go live’, they would limit their access just to their functional area.  However, by having the overall access during implementation, they would have developed a broad appreciation and understanding of the comprehensive system and continued to espouse that knowledge with their teams over time.

In larger organizations, there can be many teams to handle various areas of implementation, but the key to all of this is communications.  Not only should there be formal periodic update meetings, but an online project coordination tool that makes all information available is vital.  Microsoft Teams has evolved in the last couple of years as an excellent framework for this sort of process and has the appropriate security and interfaces to support implementation.  Teams are also ‘free’ as long as the organization is using Office 365.

Get Superior ERP Integration with EpiCenter ERP

Identifying the right ERP involves ensuring that the product has the functionality to support all aspects of a business and identifying how implementations are done and selecting the right group of people is vital.  EpiCenter always involves its implementation consultants during the sales process in meeting the client and establishing a positive rapport.  The company buying an ERP solution needs to be completely comfortable with the people working very closely with them during the implementation process.

EpiCenter prides itself on an unparalleled record of successful implementations.  We began as a services organization, and implementations are our core competence.  Please reach out to our team and understand that you will be impressed at all times with our expertise in supporting your organization throughout your implementation and beyond.

written by Jeffrey W. Glaze, President

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