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I just completed an ERP implementation for a small distribution business that was upgrading from a DOS-based accounting software. I know it will be successful for the customer.

For any business, implementing a new ERP accounting system has many opportunities to spend over budget. How do you control the cost and timeline of the implementation?

Key Success Factors

Involvement

One key to making this project successful and managing the budget was deep involvement of the owner in every aspect. In a larger business the owner can be replaced with a senior executive with decision-making authority.

Ownership

This business owner took ownership of the project. By taking ownership of the project and participating in every aspect of it he demonstrated to everyone the importance of the project to the business. As the project owner you have the knowledge needed to control your implementation cost.

Willingness to get hands dirty

One thing that helped manage the budget for this project was the owner’s willingness to dig into the project and do some of the dirty work. He worked on cleaning the inventory item and customer data going into the new ERP software to ensure it was accurate. All I needed to do was massage the formatting so it could be brought into the ERP software.

This customer had very specific formatting in mind for their customer-facing forms. I advised him that the quickest and cheapest method of doing this is for him to lay out the forms as he wants them so all I needed to do was copy.

By copying his layout we had only minor changes to the forms after testing them. This was a big saving over other projects where they wanted me to design the forms then adjust.

Self-Learning

The final piece of making this project a success now and through the future was the owner’s willingness to dive in and learn the software. Using a test system and a demonstration system he tested transactions, processes and configurations to ensure he understood how the software works.

He asked pro-active questions based on what he learned. He is now the company expert on their ERP accounting software system and can ensure all employees are using it properly.

This customer saved about $4,000 on the ERP software implementation.

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