Evaluate ERP deployment strategy before rolling out

Particularly larger organizations, which need to roll out their selected ERP solutions at multiple locations, plants, distribution centers, acquired companies, subsidiaries and marketing offices; need to create a well thought out strategy to rollout the solution to take care of challenges such as:
  • Different processes at different entities
  • Change Management
  • Varied level of standardization
  • Multiple languages
  • Cultural variability
  • Localized tax and compliance
  • Different requirements and priorities for all entities
  • Ever evolving transactional relationships between entities
  • Replacement of already available (standard or homegrown) technology solutions
Following the big bang strategy always, is not a right strategy for every organization due to above challenges and we need to look at other options too before taking an informed and calculated decision in this regard. Though big bang approach has the cost advantage in most cases as you roll out the same (or similar) solution at all the locations and entities simultaneously and the involvement of business for this huge IT initiative is not required for years together. But at the same time, the challenges as mentioned above, force you to phase it out and take the major or parent company first, which have it own pros and cons. In a nutshell, we have following options generally for ERP deployment for a large organization with multiple entities:
  • Big Bang approach: Taking all entities, variances, business functions together and going love with the solution at once
  • Phased or waterfall approach: Group the entities, variances and business functions in multiple logical groups and taking them for ERP deployment one by one
  • Parallel approach: Group the entities as in phased approach but deploy the solutions at all places at once
  • Twin waterfalls approach: Make two major logical groups and follow a phased approach for both the groups
The factors that should be part of your strategy to evaluate which approach is best for you are:
  • Risk appetite of the organization – Remember high risk, high return formula
  • Time available to go live with the new solution
  • Necessities to move to newer solution
  • Complexity of requirements
  • Availability of business for involvement in ERP project
  • Level of existing process standardization
  • Expected resistance to change
  • Training needs
  • Infrastructural requirements vis-à-vis solution deployment
Consider all above challenges, approaches, and factors before freezing your strategy of ERP deployment as it will help you not only save the cost of deployment but also the solution will be accepted by the users in the organization in a much better way and hence better usage and ROI of the investment.

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