ERP systems are powerful systems with seemingly endless functionality, and sometimes that’s too much to handle during an ERP implementation. Not every ERP user in every company needs the utilize every inch of an ERP system right away, sometimes its best so start with the minimum requirements, get comfortable, and gradually move on from there to avoid completely upsetting your processes and workflow. Whether you are implementing your first ERP system or switching to a new one, if you feel that a full blown, “big-bang” implementation might be a bit too overwhelming for your current situation and your employees, a phased ERP implementation can be hugely beneficial and help make the transition a little easier.
If you plan to roll ERP out to only a few of your employees, choosing the early adopters of the system is crucial to success in the long run. You will want to start with users who will quickly pick up and use the system, these users will be hugely important in testing roll-out procedures and providing feedback as your team works to roll the system out to the rest of the organization. The other early adopters should be from smaller departments where, if there is a problem, it will not completely derail them nor will it interfere with your customers and operations. It may be helpful if you can identify your early adopters before you begin the selection and ERP implementation process and involve them along the way.
Phased implementations, like all ERP implementation strategies, come with their own set of pros and cons. Some of which include:
- Less risk.
- Employees learn as they go, there is no dip in performance after implementation which is commonly seen in “big bang” projects.
- More time for users to adapt to the new system.
- Not a sink or swim environment.
- Small details and issues can be fixed as you go.
- Skills and experience are gained with each step/phase which can help smooth the process and keep productivity levels up.
- Takes longer to be fully converted.
- Not as focused as the big bang.
- A state of continuous change can sometimes be disruptive and stressful.
- Can have missing information because each module relies on info from others, so in a transitional period there may be some gaps.
- Temporary bridges need to be made from old to new.
To learn more about the pros and cons of other ERP implementation strategies, read this blog posted on the ERPVAR blog.