Original Posting on LinkedIn
So here it is: a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate on which to write your next chapter. Despite widespread cynicism (and damning statistics) about the success of New Year’s resolutions, over 45% of us still admit to making them time and time again. Why? Because there’s nothing quite like the promise of 365 days laid out before us, pure and untainted as the freshly fallen snow.
So if you’re one of the millions who kicked off 2015 by deciding to get organized, improve your finances, or spend more time with family by working smarter rather than harder, then you may have already envisioned an ERP system helping you reach those goals.
If so, you’re already off to a great start.
Research shows that only 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, but it also shows that people who explicitly make them are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t bother. More importantly, studies indicate that one of the main reasons so many resolutions fail is that they’re too lofty and vague. We say we’ll lose weight rather than resolving to go swimming every Monday and Thursday. We promise to eat better rather than deciding to cut out fried foods and dairy. Essentially, we’re thinking too much about the what rather than the specifics of how, or even why.
By setting more tangible, achievable goals, you’re giving yourself a way better shot at making them reality – which means that by deciding to further explore an ERP solution for your business as a means of tackling your larger objectives, you’re already ahead of the curve.
So why not take it a step further? If you’re thinking an ERP system might be the solution for your organization, here are three iterative ERP resolutions to help get the project – and the year – off to the right start:
1. Question it
Just as no workout plan is right for every single person, no one piece of software can possibly be right for every business. Take the time to really assess whether an ERP system is the ideal solution for your company by listing out the problems you’re currently facing, as well as what you’re hoping to accomplish moving forward.
Are you using several different pieces of software for different processes, making it difficult and time consuming to reconcile them? Is your company’s accounting a mess? Are you finding it impossible to predict product demand and manage inventory? If any of these problems sound familiar, an ERP system could be the key to your sanity – and your success.
Check out Top Five Signs Your Business Is Ready for an ERP System for more indications that your company could benefit from an ERP solution, and exactly how it could help.
2. Justify it
When it comes to resolutions, experts agree that the clearer and more specific you can be about why you’re doing what you’re doing, the more likely it is that you’ll follow through.
The same holds true when deciding to purchase an ERP system.
Whether you’re justifying the project to your superiors, to your colleagues, or even just to yourself, building an iron-clad case will not only help ensure that your company takes the initial leap, but that it keeps plugging away through hurdles all the way to a successful go-live.
Start by collecting as much quantitative data as possible, detailing how much an ERP system will cost, and what kind of return on investment your business should expect to see. But don’t forget to think outside the box as well. Survey your colleagues to see if they’re experiencing the same issues as you, and to identify any additional pain points. Take a look at the future: are there potential changes coming up – to the marketplace or to reporting requirements – that could make an ERP solution even more necessary?
And don’t forget to include yourself in your argument. Having an employee who has the skills and desire to champion the project is a great reason to consider it now rather than later. Your employer shouldn’t underestimate your value-add, and neither should you.
Read more about how to get management on board for an ERP system purchase or upgrade here.
3. Measure it
We’ve all heard of the yo-yo’ing: the all-too-common phenomenon of losing a bunch of weight, only to turn around and gain it all back. Those who resolve to take off the pounds and actually do often find themselves right back where they started, because they failed to think beyond their resolution’s “successful completion”.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Much of the time, companies spend so much time on the preparation and implementation stages that they overlook what comes afterwards. By making sure that there are tangible ways to measure the success of your new ERP solution post launch, you’ll be able to determine whether the job is actually complete, or whether further improvement, customization, or even training is necessary.
Look at things like decrease in employee time doing a specific task, quicker ordering of products, and less mistakes with inventory. You can find a more in-depth overview of how to measure your project here.
Finally, remember to keep your eye on the prize. An ERP system is definitely an investment – of both time and money – but the benefits are likely to far outweigh the costs. With any luck, you’ll be increasing your profits and productivity (and making it home to dinner) in no time. My best wishes for a happy, healthy, and fruitful 2015!