A guide to your ERP implementation: Getting the right support can build a solid foundation

February 21, 2022
Kaily Hirsch

Congratulations! You just made a great decision to improve your business processes by purchasing an ERP system. But now you need to transition from your old way of doing things  into your new one. This transition, and the level of support you need to get started, will look different for everyone. Think of your ERP system as the dream home you plan on building. Depending on your wants, needs, budget and personal taste, this process can be simple or incredibly complex. The same thing applies to building your dream ERP.

Getting ready to build your ERP

Before you start building a home, you must ask yourself what you really need from the space. You may want things like a swimming pool or granite countertops, but unfortunately, you have to prioritize basic needs like plumbing and a roof. The same goes for your ERP. Your must-haves should be prioritized when migrating into a new business software. This will let you get operations up and running as quickly as possible. 

One of the first steps is to make a plan for gathering and migrating all of your data. Many systems make this process easier by allowing you to import existing data using Excel spreadsheets or by connecting with your Quickbooks account. Modern tools, like ParagnERP, allow you to migrate current and historical data from ecommerce applications like Shopify. The data migration process could become more complicated if you are operating entirely out of an older ERP system or don't have digitized records yet. Once you have decided what is vital for your business and how you will transfer all of your data, it’s time to get to work!

Finding the right builders

When it is time to implement your new ERP, there will be multiple support options available to you, and it is essential to choose the right one. The support available for modern ERP systems is often as flexible as the software itself. It can be as hands-on or off as you want. This is the difference between building a house yourself or having a team of architects, engineers and contractors to help. While some people need expert advice from start to finish, others will be happy to do things independently. Based on our experience, there are three basic ways to approach your ERP implementation project: Do-It-Yourself, onboarding support, and complex implementations. 

Do-It-Yourself: The ultimate control or the ultimate time suckage? 

You know your business best. So it’s understandable that you want to be in control of how you use the software to run it. While ERP systems, and the process of getting up and running on them, have traditionally been pretty complex, more modern options make it possible to go it on your own. This process is totally possible, especially when you have an in-house expert or use tools designed for simpler workflows. Taking the DIY approach is generally best for small companies with fairly simple operations, especially those who buy and sell finished goods.  

This process will be time-consuming, but the energy you put into it will be worthwhile for the outcome of a more organized day and better insights into your business. If your dream house is a basic log cabin or small cottage, the DIY approach will provide perfectly adequate shelter from the elements and the frame to build something more complex down the road. The downside to a DIY approach is that you may overlook some of the functionality in your new ERP in favor of relying on old or simple ones you already know how to use. If you want guidance or specialized support as you make your way through new software, an onboarding package could be better. 

Onboarding support: tour the model, then choose your favorite features

Onboarding packages provide a middle ground for getting set up with your new software. Onboarding is like buying a house with an existing foundation and frame then getting an expert architect and contractor to help you renovate and shape it into the ideal home. This process will provide you with tons of support and knowledge to optimize all of the tools that come with your new ERP. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an expert to help you determine what you need to see and do in your system? They'll show you functionality and features that they think could help your business run more smoothly, help with the data migration process and set up basic workflows so you can start using your new system quickly. The onboarding process will typically take between 4-6 weeks and will involve regular communication between you and experts. Once your setup is final, you will get training to understand what all of your daily work and processes will look like. One of the best parts of onboarding is that an expert will get fully acquainted with your business. Not only will they be able to make great suggestions about specialized features and integrations, but they will also be able to help you with any future problems and guide you if you ever decide to add more complex customizations into your system.

Complex implementations: The perfect ERP wasn’t built in a day

Software implementation is a process that fully customizes an ERP to fit the specific needs of your business. It ensures that your ERP will work precisely the way you want it to work. This process is expensive, personal, complicated, and time-consuming. But an implementation project is like building your dream home from start to finish - it ensures that everything is built perfectly to suit your needs. While anyone can take part in this process, it is typically reserved for large companies and those that do complex manufacturing, require in-depth batch tracking, need custom automation, or have any other specialized processes

If you are interested in an implementation project, it will start with a meeting between your team and a business analyst from the ERP team. Together, you will go over your entire workflow, analyzing your needs from end to end. After this, you will likely get a pre-analysis package that gives you all the details about the technical work, budgets and timelines that will go into your fully customized software. It's a long journey, but getting your personalized ERP is like being handed keys to your very own Versailles. 

So, is it worth the effort?

Getting acquainted with an ERP system can be intimidating. They are powerful and complex tools and the success of your business can depend on how skilled you are at using them. No matter how user-friendly a tool or how experienced you are at software, a learning curve is always there when you pick up something new. Much like building a house, it is possible to do it on your own, but you may miss many critical things without an expert to offer support.

By now you are probably asking yourself, is it really worth the effort? While it can be time-consuming to start using a new tool, the benefits are definitely worth it. The time, money and effort you spend getting things going will be returned tenfold by the increased productivity, improved efficiency and happy staff and customers that you gain from having a system that works. No matter what level of support you use while getting acquainted with your ERP, there is no question; deciding to invest in one at all is better than being left out in the cold with no shelter.

The better way to run your business