During these challenging economic times, streamlined business processes and a complete, accurate view of operations in real time can give your business the edge it needs to grow and thrive.

A modern ERP solution like SAP Business One enables you to leave behind manual business processes, spreadsheet wrangling and data siloes, so that your business can be more agile, productive and competitive.

The good news for any growing business is that ERP software has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years.

Especially if you opt for a cloud-based solution, it’s possible to implement an affordable platform that lends itself to rapid implementation and fast time to value.

The key to getting it right? Planning and preparation before starting deployment.

Here are five steps you can take to set the stage for a successful ERP programme:

1. Choose the right ERP solution and implementation partner 

You’ll want to choose an ERP solution that offers specialist functionality for your industry, tightly integrated modules that give you an all-in-one solution, and a track record of success with companies of your size and in your sector.

SAP Business One fits the bill for many small and medium-sized companies.

The implementation partner is as important as the software. An experienced and knowledgeable service provider will offer you specialised extensions and add-on functionality to enhance the capabilities of the ERP solution.

It will also have a strong list of customer reference sites as well as proven methodologies and templates to accelerate success.

Every software reseller has its own way of deploying projects. We use an approach based on SAP’s proven implementation methodology.

We’ve been using this approach for decades and we know it works. It also helps us to guarantee that all key processes are covered and that we can deliver realistic timescales and expectations.

2. Plan, plan and plan some more 

Your partner should be able to work with you to craft a realistic, efficient implementation timeline.

A map of all the steps in the project will enable the team to keep track of progress and pay attention to any considerations that may derail things.

Creating regular checkpoints and milestones throughout the process will make timelines flexible and effective.

Your project manager will draw up a project initiation plan including all these details.

Not only does it act as a reference to all key components that will make up your solution, but it outlines what to expect and what our team is planning.

Everybody has to be happy with this before it’s signed off—customer, project manager and project sponsor.

3. The business blueprint

In the next stage in the process, your partner will work with your key team members to determine how best to achieve organisational targets.

Together, you’ll make decisions about how best to proceed with master data items, reporting requirements and other key processes and their attributes.

Then, everything will be documented in a business blueprint for sign-off by all key stakeholders.

4. Project realisation 

At this stage of the project, you and your partner will begin to configure the software as outlined in the Blueprint document, migrate data into the new system (it’s wise to cleanse data before this step), and commence key user training and acceptance training.

Solution experts will work with your key users and other members of the project team to show them the software works.

These users, in turn, can train other users. It’s then time to move on to User Acceptance Testing (UAT). This is where key users will try processes for themselves using existing company data.

This will usually be carried out in a test environment which will mirror the live solution when everything is ready to go live.

5. Get set for go-live

After UAT has been successfully executed and signed off, final preparation for go-live can begin. There may be some final end-user training and last touches to master data lists.

A Go-Live Readiness Document will outline who will be in attendance and the planning processes involved in getting your system fully up and running in a live environment.

All systems go!

Once you’ve completed the earlier steps, you’ll be set to go live and your users can start using the system in a ‘real-world’ setting.

All final quality checks will have been completed, open issues should be resolved and your project manager will sign off the project as complete.

This is something we at SEIDOR have done thousands of times for all types of businesses across the globe.

Our experience and track record is one reason we continue to be the world’s leading SAP Business One implementation partner.

If you want your project to be delivered on time and within budget, get in touch to learn more.