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Enterprise resource planning applies modules which can link up office operations with the basis of areas of functions and processes. It comes in with challenges of which solutions to counteract are also viable to employ into the system. In this work we are going to look into critical success factors that exist in the ERP upgrade implementation and how they influence or affect the ERP system. Besides, we will identify the alternative strategies whish are undertaken to overcome the challenges experienced in the ERP implementation and discuss how these alternative strategies help resolve issues attached to the ERP system.
The critical success factors in the ERP upgrade implementation
Business plan and vision
Having a clear objectives and goals are helpful in connection to the business planning and vision. This is because they help work towards achieving the overlaid and anticipated outcomes which later translate into the beneficial components of the ERP implementation. Meanwhile, on the basis of the set objectives and goals, planning assists in utilizing the available resources and managing the potential risks that may be faced during the implementation and upgrading phases of the system.
It further is important in managing one’s time as it gives a proper layout on how the intended activities will be worked on in a timely manner. Business plan also aids in budgeting on the available funds, hence feasibility. The business vision provides a reliable direction to which to base the facts considered during the implementation of the ERP project. But then, all these are null and void without clear understanding of the project itself. Furthermore, the project should be justified well enough so as to help in strategizing for the incorporation of IT strategy within.
In the management outline or system of the ERP upgrade implementation, change in the management is essential in facilitating the strategies for tackling the competitiveness in the sector as this allows for a wide range of shared values that emphasize functionality, production, market segmentation and tasking of the perspectives. This is effective as it does come with an understanding of the system’s operation and its potential outcomes, by promoting the adoption of useful decisions.
But these are not just achieved without training of the management. However, such changes may increase risks and project costs.
For the relay of information within the project initiatives, effective communication is crucial and should be observed in understanding the entities aligned to the ERP system. The communication should be precisely comprehensible and relaying the expectation needs of the project so as to enhance relay of feedback information. Communication, among other things should not fail to address the needs of ERP implementation outline, management change processes and strategies, software requirements and the project scope.
ERP team composition, skills and compensation
For the success of the ERP implementation, experts are a requirement both in the business and technical arrays with much concentration on the implementation so as to attain innovations. These should consider balancing within the project team and cross-functionality. Besides, good incentives and risk considerations for the team are worthy in realizing the objected goals.
Management support and championship
Support from the top management is critical since the project must be prioritized in its design. With the top management, there is proper allocation of resources. This, along with project championship helps facilitate goal setting and ensure legitimate changes.
Both good assignments of responsibilities for the project and clear definition and control of the ERP project are essential for the achievement of its success. The ERP project management should entail constant evaluations on the basis of the expected benefits and later implementations and changes with consideration of cost and be time bound.
The management should also address reliability, ensure remarkable coordination of the project activities and assure user and process requirements are integrated into the system.
System analysis, selection and technical selection
To avoid increased IT costs, prolonged implementation time and inability to gain from maintenance and upgrading of the software, complexities within the business or project have to be managed successfully. Configuration and definition is therefore required for the system before deployment of any designs, and before implementation, testing needs to be carried out on the system of course with integration of the previously used systems.
Tools and methodologies that abridge on the costs and implementation time should also be fitted in. but the overall consideration should be the selection into the ERP packages that minimize customization and they must support the information and functional needs of the business processes employed.
The alternative strategies undertaken to overcome challenges
In the ERP system, there are challenges that are normally faced. Without counteracting these challenges, no progress may be attained and to manage them there are approaches that have to be employed. These approaches or alternative strategies employed in overcoming the challenges encountered in the ERP systems’ project implementation and upgrading include the following listed:
¾ Integration of software architecture within the ERP system;
¾ Incorporation of a corporate strategy;
¾ Planning for the future strategies;
¾ Responsibility delegation to the ERP project team, especially during the implementation stage;
¾ Streamlining of ERP costs;
¾ Determining the organizational needs, hence considerable allocations to various segments;
¾ Analysis of implementation time and the return on investment issues;
¾ Fitting the ERP system within the organizational culture and set-up;
¾ Cost saving in relation to the human power for the requirements of ROI;
¾ Conducting ERP employee training for effectiveness;
¾ Change management within the organizational set-up and system;
¾ Feasibility study;
¾ Assessment of the project’s functionality.
How the Alternative Strategies Help Resolve issues
Integration of software architecture ensured a more reliable system in the ERP project as it helped cut down on implementation costs. This also helped in good time management as the implementation time was reduced. Furthermore, it did assist in checking interference with the configurations as the entire system had to undergo testing to ensure the required needs were focused on. This brought in the improvising of the ERP system’s project environment by putting in alternative development approaches through programmes that are technology supported. These also ensured employee worthiness in meeting the set and expected deadlines.
Putting in a corporate strategy that would offer considerable business decisions aided in the operations of the ERP project as a number of professionals were brought together in determining the decisions that were of benefit to the project. This further enhanced the flow and transfer of information that is relevant in the business implementation process by promoting improved communication skills amongst them, especially in line with their experiences. It also improved the means by which the management process is determined and also the best managerial changes to be effected within the system.
Agenda for the business integration and selection like for the case of charter stage was set by the executive management which ensured an effective role for the project team. This further ensured the prioritization of programmes and initiatives that are laid down in the project system implementation. It ensures that the tasks are also properly delegated to the different personalities, relative to knowledge, skills, experiences and relevant ideas on particular areas of concern within the project implementation and upgrading processes.
Also considered was the planning through the implementation of the project had significance in terms of the future strategy. This is very crucial when it comes to future considerations in terms of timing and budgeting for the resources required. No project can be achieved without any considerable planning since planning gives an oversight into what next to carry out in the implementation process. The project also needs properly and well organized allocation of funds where applicable and this can only be achieved through planning into the project future.
Responsibility delegation to the project team to plan the implementation (top-down/trust) came in handy. Considerable combinations of organizational modes and management approaches changed hence there was no conflicts between the project team and the stakeholder groups could be encountered. This was however dependent on how it does address problems and make business changes. It is useful to delegate responsibilities in the ERP system project implementation as it does equip almost the entire workforce in acquiring the relevant skills applicable in the different areas thereby ensuring coordination of the project even in the instances where there may be vacancies within.
Cost of ERP implementation was cut down in the maintenance and upgrading the ERP system, especially in regard to the initial costs. No project is carried out if there are no benefits attached to it, profits in particular. The cost of implementation is therefore a major consideration and should be focused on to ensure no losses are incurred.
Another set of alternative strategy was by determining organizational needs, upgrading requirements for ERP system installation, cost of ERP system, customization of software, data transferring and testing, and ERP system maintenance,
Implementation time and ROI issue: this was very much attached to the time associated with the ERP implementation. This is because the implementation process varies in time and therefore proper planning is a requirement before a return on investment is realized.
The ERP system was accommodated within the organizational culture so as return on investment could be realized. The effectiveness of ERP system design and implementation is directly affected by the employee’s acceptability, top management leadership and support, and the fit of ERP with the organizational culture, and the steering committee looked into the same with a lot of consideration. Hence, their ability to overcome the challenges that would have been registered was realized.
Cost savings in human power: for high ROI, there was strategized an approach to balance the costs and the labor. This helped in determining the project’s effectiveness and viability by the company’s ability to generate high ROI either in the long-term or the short-term, even though they might not be present in the short-term.
ERP employee training: training of the employees proved viably adequate to the entire ERP system as it was the main basis for the implementation success. Though training has costs attached to it, and with the varying costs that exist, there must be put in place approaches to control these costs and this was one of the considerations that were encompassed in the training of the employees. Meanwhile, employee training boosted the flow and efficiency in the operations aligned to the ERP system implementation. Through training of the employees, all areas and/or departments in the ERP system were entirely covered at all the implementation phases and apart from that, maintenance and operations within the system were enhanced throughout the implementation process. Nevertheless, training brought in effective and proper use of ERP features and applications.
Change management within the organizational set-up which assisted in incorporating reliable and efficient approaches within the ERP system as it was viable for the cultural and information preservation within the organizational set-up. With this as an incentive in itself, the whole management system and the workforce were supportive in the implementation process of the ERP project through amicable relations.
There was a more or less feasibility study carried out which helped curb risks that would have been realized during ERP implementation process. This ensured that there was not any waste on the resources used into the implementation of the project by carrying out the worthiness of the ERP system execution well before it was developed. Therefore, during the implementation the benefits would be realized.
Assessment of the functionality of the system was also done to find out if the ERP system would be convenient in the achievement of its intended functions of which it was developed. This was helpful in determining the areas which would require further attention through monitoring and evaluation processes.
These strategies helped solve the issues addressed by enhancing the process of planning, through information search process, pre-selection and selection of the process, evaluation process, the choice process and the negotiation process. And mostly they were a success since strong ERP implementation methodology was considered, expectations were set right, strong functional knowledge was put in place, strong relationships were built and the commitments were geared towards the ERP implementations.