- 17 August 2016
Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is no small task, and it needs proper IT support to be successful.
While many ERP companies offer ongoing IT support, it’s important to have the right IT infrastructure in place even before beginning implementation. Use these tips to make sure your IT house is in order before you implement an ERP system.
Make Sure You Have a Robust IT Team
It’s a huge job to implement an ERP system, even if you hire an outside consultancy. It can be very demanding for an IT department. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure your IT department is up to the task.
Do you have enough IT staff to address your company’s IT needs?
While the ERP design stage may seem more or less business as usual for your IT team, the implementation stage is much more demanding. Some IT team members may find their time entirely devoted to the ERP implementation, leaving your IT department with fewer people to address ongoing technical demands or respond to IT issues as they come up.
Do you have the necessary skills on your IT team?
Implementing an ERP system requires expertise in security, network administration, hardware, data, testing, and more. Does your IT team have these skills? If not, can they be trained in the necessary skills? If so, make sure to account for this in your project timeline and budget. You will want to train them before the project is underway, not during.
Is your IT team capable of handling the additional responsibilities and maintenance in addition to their current workload?
Think beyond the implementation process. Will your IT team be up to taking on new responsibilities and maintenance associated with the ERP system? Does the team have the manpower and the skillsets for it?
As you can see, if the answer to these questions is no, you will need to consider hiring new employees or outsourcing the services. Each has their advantages and disadvantages; consult with your chief technology officer about what makes the most sense for your company.
Get IT Buy-In
Once your IT team has the skills and capacity for an ERP implementation, it’s important to make sure they support ERP implementation. If they do not believe an ERP system is necessary, you will encounter resistance.
Consider how you will “sell” the need for ERP to your IT team, and who will demonstrate why it’s important. Make sure your ERP project team includes members from, and respected by, your company’s IT department.
Ensure Network Reliability
Technical considerations are just as important as human resource ones. Your company needs to ensure its network reliability. Without a reliable network and IT infrastructure, it will be hard to remain on schedule, and your company’s productivity will suffer.
Make sure your uptime is at least 99.999% to dramatically decrease the odds you will experience downtime. In addition to uptime reliability, backup generation and dual power feeds will keep you functioning at peak levels and will give you peace of mind.
Consider Availability and Performance
One of ERP’s most significant assets is its ability to process data and make information easier to collect, retain, interpret, and manage. This requires a robust central processing unit (CPU) and considerable memory capacity, and may require upgrading equipment or hardware.
Take the time to carefully assess the capacity of your IT department and your technical systems. Invest in them to make sure the answer to the question “Is your IT department ready for ERP implementation?” is a resounding yes!