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Assumptions & Expectations Keep Changing - Eventually Delaying The Implementation

Before you embark on the ERP journey, you should be clear on what do you want from it.

I think we started somewhere in 2007. It took nearly 2 years of work. You have to be very flexible because lots of people just abandon it saying that “It should have been done by now, so we are not going to continue.” You need to be very flexible both in terms of time & budget; because many a times, businesses just put the blame on a system or a vendor but the fact is that they themselves were not very clear. Their understanding evolves as time passes – changing their expectations from the system – in turn delaying the process. Evolving needs make a lot of difference to the kind of effort that is required.

The Right Enterprise Solution Choice - To Build Or To Buy?

Buy What You Can & Build What You Must

It took us 10 years to get the right solution. Earlier, we had tried both developing our own solution and hunting the market for an ERP but they were too costly. My small business could not afford that kind of an investment.

The Need For a Standardized Package Coupled with The Limitations of Our Existing System Prompted Us To Look For An ERP

Info Edge has 3-4 main lines of business, Naukri being the most prominent one. Naukri processes ~6000-7000 sales orders every month, which is huge given the kind of business we are in. For years, we had been using largely homegrown systems, which over a period of time hit limits on their ability to take higher volumes and larger variety in terms of products, features and adequately meeting customer needs. Such systems typically fail to keep pace - not that they cannot but there’s a cost to it.

At Somany, we discarded the legacy system completely once the ERP went live; and it worked for us

We took the bold decision that the day we go live we will stop the legacy system altogether. That was one of the main reasons why we could implement it successfully in our kind of setup where people were used to working on a certain platform. They were used to looking at a particular kind of screen. All that changed overnight.

Give & Take Serious Feedback

Implementing partners should seek & action feedback from customers; it is very crucial. Customer feedback is very important. It will act as a certificate for you. During and post an implementations, problems are inevitable. It’s all a matter of how they are handled. Endless exchange of mails and blame games don’t do any good. We, Indians, are very good at blaming each other; we never appreciate each other. We are mostly cynical and rarely look at the brighter side of things. So whenever an issue crops us, the implementing company & the solution partner end up shooting reproaching mails to each other.

Probability of Success is Higher When the Project Is Led by an Experienced Professional

Any organization implementing ERP or CRM solution should have (or hire if the need arises) a professional with past ERP or CRM implementation experiences – irrespective of the product. This is imperative because a good amount of maturity & experience (both functionally as well as in the system) is needed in the person driving the implementation internally. The person must be able to quickly understand what is going on in the organization and how it can be translated into a solution. A trainee or a newbie wouldn’t be qualified or have adequate maturity to perform such a job.

Pay Adequate Attention to Data Migration

It is important for an organization to have the required amount of expertise to ensure smooth migration of data from existing system to the new system. Even though the actual migration is largely done by the partner, the support has to come from the implementing business organization in terms of ensuring that the partner understands the data points and their significance.

Form & Follow a Daily Project Calendar

Our first & foremost learning from the ERP implementation is that a day wise timetable needs to be maintained. It is needed to track what is to be done & by whom; along with a daily review of what has been completed or what is pending. The daily output must be monitored and in case of sub-optimal output, closer coordination amongst team members must be ensured.

Problems Kick In If Your Key Resource Leaves

Most businesses hire a lone ERP project manager to coordinate with the solution provider during & post ERP implementation.

However, if this key person in charge of and acquainted with the system quits; usage & troubleshooting becomes more of an issue than an ease – creating a pressing need to onboard or train additional users to meet system support needs. This is a cost to the company in terms of training as well as in terms of the lost productivity.

When we started implementing ERP, we had 6 consecutive failures before tasting success. Unfortunately, we got some very bad implementers initially. They handled us miserably. One of our initial partners, who was implementing ERP in our company, did so much of customization that was not really required and was never actually used – making it a failure. Honestly, I used to think that I had made a mistake.

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