Business Automation and Software Blog

ERP Selection and Implementation: Transitioning from Spreadsheets

Posted by Robert Baran on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

As you move from your ERP selection into implementation, one area that must be addressed is the spreadsheet. While spreadsheets have their place, a sound ERP system will replace the need for stand-alone data collection and manipulation.

Unfortunately, many businesses find that, instead of rejoicing when the company implements an ERP system, some employees cling to their spreadsheets as if to a life raft. Whether it’s through fear of the unknown or misunderstanding of the role of ERP in their lives, these spreadsheet-o-philes love their formulas and charts.

Believe us when we say that they probably didn’t love those formulas and charts the first time they sat down to run a spreadsheet. Most of us forget the learning curve that accompanied those first spreadsheets: the missing formulas, the printing problems that create reports that should be distributed with a magnifying glass, and so on. We’ve all been there. But we quickly forget how quirky spreadsheets can be. The skills learned as we continue week after week, month after month, using and manipulating data on spreadsheets are hard won, and we don’t want to give them up.

Fortunately, you can learn to love your ERP system and swap the spreadsheet for the systematic data retrieval of a sound ERP system. If you are transitioning your company from an older model to a forward-thinking ERP system, these tips can help.

Three Tips to Get Staff to Love Their ERP

Include everyone in the requirements-gathering stage: While it’s tempting to include only the IT department and perhaps finance in the ERP selection, you need people from throughout the company, and a good representational sample from all departments who will interact with the new ERP system. Include more people to ensure no area is left unrepresented in the requirements-gathering process. By making sure that you understand the concerns and requirements of each department before a vendor is selected, you’ll stand a much better chance of choosing software that employees look forward to with anticipation rather than trepidation.

Get them onboard early: The first step is to make sure that ERP selection and implementation isn’t a surprise to anyone. Ensure that everyone who uses the system in any way knows about it well in advance. Schedule presentations and training sessions, and talk to team leaders to include several staff members in the decision to choose ERP vendors.

Schedule training often: In addition to including everyone in the ERP selection and getting folks on board the ERP train early, make sure you schedule frequent training sessions. Adults learn best by repetition, and remember only what they have learned more recently. If you train people weeks before the system is fully implemented, they may lose interest or simply forget the instructions prior to the system’s launch. Weak training leads to weak adoption throughout the company since people won’t know what to do with the ERP system.  Schedule frequent training for employees, and make sure you have several experts trained in each department who can troubleshoot problems and provide on-the-spot training as needed.

Ask Your Vendor for Help with ERP Selection and Implementation

Don’t forget to talk to your software vendor about any concerns you may have about implementation. The good thing about working with an independent reseller is that they’ve worked with dozens (or even hundreds) of other implementations before. Your vendor has probably seen similar problems, and can offer insights, solutions, and action steps to address them all. Bring your vendor into the picture and ask for help as needed.

If you are looking for an experienced ERP vendor, contact PositiveVision.  We would love to help you make your ERP selection and implementation smooth and effective.


Topics: ERP