What is an ERP implementation

ERP system selection and implementation

ERP systems form the backbone of a company and are of crucial importance for the company's success.


Many companies are faced with the challenge of replacing ERP systems that have grown over the years and that have been further developed because they are reaching their performance limits or are made up of outdated software or hardware standards that can no longer be updated or can only be updated with great effort. The question of a suitable ERP system provider therefore arises for companies. In addition, it should be considered how the existing company workflows and processes should be dealt with in the course of the new ERP implementation.

The TCW concept

Due to the complex nature of the task, it is advisable to plan the ERP implementation process carefully and to seek help from experts. As a promising approach, it makes sense to optimize the processes in parallel with the selection of a suitable ERP system. This results in a general procedure for the ERP selection and implementation, consisting of four modules, which are shown below.

Module I: Auditing of the process and IT landscape

As part of the auditing of the process and IT landscape, the actual situation is recorded and documented; the first weak points can already be identified. For this purpose, interviews, SWOT and interface analyzes are carried out, always with the focus on the weak points of the current system landscape as well as future requirements. An initial potential assessment can also be carried out after the actual analysis, which must be concretized, detailed and expanded in the further steps.

Module II: process reorganization

Numerous ERP implementation projects have shown that it makes sense to fundamentally optimize the company's process landscape in connection with the implementation of ERP systems. In addition to the general goals such as improving process times, process consistency and process quality, it is advisable in this context to orient the target processes as close as possible to reference processes typical of ERP. To do this, the main process steps must be mapped in a first step. Subsequent detailed workshops serve to record the actual processes in detail. At this stage, identified fields of action can be reflected in the process and the first starting points for improvement noted.

The subsequent target process modeling is to be aligned with the aspects of ERP-typical reference processes, including general and process-specific optimization approaches. At the same time, the necessary measures can be documented immediately and specified with deadlines and responsibilities. The previous process optimization ensures that the company-specific adjustment effort for software solutions is significantly reduced when the new ERP is introduced and that solutions that are as close to the standard as possible can be used. This is also a great advantage with regard to later updates of the ERP software.

As part of process optimization, identified immediate measures can be implemented immediately. These quick improvement measures serve both the project success and the motivation, since successes are directly visible.

Module III: ERP selection

The ERP selection follows a clearly structured procedure in several stages. First of all, an initial definition of the requirements for an ERP system is made. A market research based on rough requirement profiles can be used to pre-select potential ERP providers, which are then subjected to a more detailed analysis. This is followed by the development of a detailed specification sheet. For this purpose, requirements from extensive catalogs of requirements from all relevant company areas are evaluated with regard to the importance (must / can / optional requirement) for the new software. This requirement specification offers the possibility, together with further information about the company and the processes, to send a specific request for quotation in the form of a tender to various ERP providers. By proceeding according to the funnel model, the multitude of different ERP providers and system houses can be reduced to a manageable number of suitable providers via a multi-stage selection process. A maximum of four providers should be included in the final stage of the selection process via the detailed comparison and evaluation of performance criteria and other relevant aspects of the providers. These are invited to one to two-day supplier workshops and assessed using prepared checklists. In order to be able to compare the providers, it is very important to prepare these supplier workshops intensively, to compile relevant questions and tasks and to involve the key users in the company at the appointment. The findings from the workshops form a decisive evaluation criterion in the selection decision for a suitable provider.

Module IV: ERP implementation

In order to successfully implement ERP software, in addition to the optimization of the process landscape and the detailed selection of an ERP system according to the funnel model, the requirements described in the specification must be incorporated into the specification and then legally fixed in a software contract. Legal experts who specialize in IT law should be consulted for this purpose. In addition to an initial timetable for the implementation, it is also necessary to check this regularly and at short intervals with the software provider and, if necessary, to adjust it so that bottlenecks and unexpected difficulties do not endanger the overall project at an early stage.

The most common reasons for the failure of an ERP implementation are the lack of goals and a clearly defined implementation schedule, the lack of time for the employees involved and the lack of support for the project on the part of management. It is important to address these factors in advance and to take measures at an early stage that contribute to a successful implementation.

Results / potential

By optimizing the company processes as well as the structured and careful selection of an ERP provider as well as the selective and structured approach according to the funnel model

  • significantly increase the success of implementation,
  • Significantly shorten the time for the ERP selection process and
  • Significantly reduce the risks and uncertainties of the selection process and the very far-reaching and critical projects.

The procedure shown results in a project time reduction in the selection phase of up to 30%.

Further reading on the topic of ERP system selection and implementation

Practical examples on the subject of ERP system selection and implementation

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