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Perhaps you’re in denial, maybe you’ve swept it under the rug for too long but your company has outgrown its current software systems and it’s time to switch to a new business solution. Sounds daunting? Don’t worry, executing a solid software implementation plan doesn’t necessarily need to be a nightmare.

It can however be quite a stressful process. You have to decide which digital solution fits your company, choose a partner, migrate valuable data stored in different software packages and consider the possible impact on your staff. Let’s just say, it shouldn’t be underestimated. And, however contradictory it may sound; technology is not the most frequent drawback in this process. Adequate project management on the one hand and the readiness of management and co-workers, on the other, have a much greater impact on the success of an ERP & CRM implementation. It’s a process that needs to be well prepared, closely monitored, and that requires clear communication between all stakeholders. Stood watchguard, as you will.

At Arcade Business Consultancy, we’ve witnessed our fair share of “how to not go about ERP & CRM implementations” so, let’s take a closer look at what can go wrong and on how our watchguard methodology overcomes the main pitfalls along the way.

 

Pitfall 1: Aiming for a big bang effect

 

If you are aiming for a total system switch at once, which is proof of ambition and perfectly understandable, you might no longer see the wood for the trees along the way. In other words, please don't go for the big bang effect. Watchguarding means setting up a phased approach and incorporating a soft project launch. Once the first hurdle has been taken successfully, we build further on the foundations that have been set up. It is not necessary to do it all at once. On the contrary, a phased approach will enhance change readiness and will turn great ambitions into a manageable and feasible project.

 

Pitfall 2: The project goals and planning are not clearly defined

 

Have you clearly defined what your company aims to accomplish with the introduction of an ERP & CRM solution? And do you want to make sure the project doesn’t take an early end? Then have a watchguard make sure everybody – from the company departments to the stakeholders to the implementation partner -  is aware of the benefits, vision and the strategy of the CRM & ERP implementation. Every stakeholder should specify their expectations and document these in an elaborated map, consisting of goals that are aligned with management’s objectives. This map will show the impact of your project plan, will help you set priorities and follow the projected path, from start to end. Without this map, the project will be an endless source of discussion among stakeholders and departments. And take our word for it, you’ll likely get discouraged with such setbacks.

 

Pitfall 3: Not enough expertise in the project team

 

Companies tend to assign technology related projects to their IT departments, as in “it has something to do with software, so IT will fix it”. When you lay an ERP & CRM implementation in the sole hands of your IT department and the integration partner who is also mainly focused on technology, the software might as well be tossed into the bin. Why? It more than likely will not be implementable since it is not aligned with the daily practices of your departments. From our experience it's handy to make sure that next to your IT staff and software implementation partner, you assemble a team of people that watchguard. They oversee the bigger picture, have ERP & CRM specialists, add business insights and know how to manage a massive project, from project design to implementation to the monitoring and evaluation phase. A watchguard can be the missing cherry on top of the cake to successfully firestart your ERP & CRM solution.

 

Pitfall 4: Did you consider your data?

 

We all know how it goes. You have inserted data into a certain system for years on end, your employees and departments have developed their own way of working, and it has resulted in a fragmented data store that is illegible for the new system. As a watchguard we consider the entire ecosystem: the IT infrastructure, department specific data, and all the integrations the old software entails. Software solutions are seldomly isolated on their own plane of existence. By considering data and their entire ecosystems, we can speed up data migration while ensuring compliance, compatibility, and stability. Data mapping is for us one of the most important though underestimated steps of the ERP & CRM implementation.

 

Pitfall 5: Lack of support and training

 

Many organizations have their fingers crossed for an overnight succes to a completely new ERP & CRM system which will excite their staff. A new system great! A desktop or program full of unknown icons and commands... not so great! Not only will this affect software adoption and company adoption, it becomes very problematic for managers to justify the costs connected to the implementation plan if no one is using the software. And, trust us, it won't positively affect any KPI's either.

So as people are inherently resistant to change, it’s a good idea to repeatedly highlight what’s in it for them and to provide extensive on-the-job training sessions and workshops. A disturbingly long manual probably won’t do the trick and will only cause negligence and frustrations. As a watchguard we make sure that you consider the organizational change, the cost and efforts to effectively realize this digital transformation.  

 

We stand watchguard for an effective implementation

Thanks to our expertise, we make sure that your ERP & CRM implementation will not be subjected to one of the pitfalls mentioned above.

From start to end, we stand watchguard to make sure the client and the integration partner are on the same page. Our primary job is to use our thorough expertise in Dynamics 365 and our broad business insights to support and guide both the client and the integration partner through every phase of the project. By translating technical terms into human language and vice versa, we:

  • Ask the right questions to define needs and expectations
  • Set out and manage the project plan
  • Assemble SWAT experts for the job
  • Prepare the data migration
  • Make sure your co-workers are willing and ready to switch to the new system

In short, we close the gap between the client and the software developer.

 

Want to know more about our watchguard methodology?

Are you planning an ERP & CRM implementation any time soon? Then don’t take it lightly, have a closer look at our Dynamics 365 services and let's discuss your plans and expectations. We’re happy to close the gap for you.

Get in touch with Olivier Laloo: olivier.laloo@arcadeconsultancy.be