8 top tips for successful international ERP implementation

Blog post

Even small and medium sized are now operating overseas. To support these expanded operations, many companies are now implementing one single business management system to harmonise/standardise common business processes, improve cross border collaboration and ultimately improve overall efficiency.

Working as part of the Pipol Alliance, Technology Management can now better support international deployments of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 – with one single point of contact for project management and the assistance of the most professional and most experienced Dynamics partners in each country.

Based on our joint experiences, here’s our 8 top tips for implementation Dynamics ERP internationally:

  1. Plan for early success & visible improvements: The shorter the phases of any project, the higher the chance of success. Focus early phases on both what is most important for the business but also delivers highly visible success. And always have a future phase planned, where you can park unresolved tasks or change requests. This way you will be able to keep every onboard and supporting the project without losing momentum.
  2. Understand and simplify: If you automate a process that you do understand or is overly complicated, you will get a complex system that you don’t understand. That is why you need to work in this order: 1) create understanding, 2) simplify, 3) automate. You cannot build systems before your business processes are defined and optimised.
  3. Think quality and ownership together: Quality assurance outside a process is overhead. Quality assurance incorporated in a process is proactivity. Processes that have built-in quality assurance provide the best basis for innovation and consistency in implementation.
  4. Do not underestimate local differences: Most assumptions about ERP systems across international boundaries are wrong. And the unexpected is always hidden in the detail, not in the main processes. So always make sure to involve your local teams.
  5. It takes time for people to get to grips with change: Whilst we all recognise that there will always be change, it takes time for people to translate the need for change into what it means for them. Therefore, when thinking of the transformation an ERP solution will deliver, invest the time into understanding and communicating the changes into language the various stakeholders will understand. And you will gain greater organisational support for the project as a result.
  6.  International implementations have greater potential for ROI: Whilst some companies can run on principles and values alone, when it comes to international ERP implementations formalised processes are necessary to guarantee results. And because many processes are common across geographies, you can achieve enormous synergy by having repeatable, reliable business processes that can be reused across the organization.
  7. Expected change to the plan: In real life, no project plan ever fits 100%. Plans are only worth something if they can be adapted and fine tuned to the changing conditions – both internal or external. Just make sure there is a formalised process for managing change requests, so you can deliver a realistic process and functional definition of the project.
  8.  It’s a team effort: You cannot enter into a fixed-price contract with your ERP supplier and then transfer all the project responsibility to them. Legal agreements cannot guard the company against mistake – and they often turn out to have the opposite effect. Like any major project or change to a business, ongoing and professional communication is key – both with your suppliers and across the organization.

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