The Client and our role:
We were approached by two entrepreneurs almost simultaneously wanting to move to new ERP. One of them is an old client for whom we have been doing substantial work and the other one approached us by word of mouth publicity.
Both of them wanted a new ERP. One of them was not satisfied with the existing one and the other one didn’t know what an ERP is.
Both of them had almost similar amounts of turnovers and were making reasonable profit compared to industry standards. Both of them had enough surplus cash flows to invest in new ERP.
The old client had issues with the implementation of software. He had few processes that the current software could not handle and most of the other software had limitations. Hence, it was necessary to find a solution.
The new client wanted to buy the software immediately and get on with the job. We tried to convince him not to do that at the cost of losing a client. In fact, he had zeroed in the software recommended by his friend without understanding what software could do.
Both clients were literally sitting on poles. The old wanted to get on with the new software immediately while the new one was ready to wait for our studies, recommendations and rewritten policies.
The old client gave the list of the problems and left it to us to find solution and accepted the solution as it is. When during the trial run reports were not as per his requirement, he didn’t accept the reports saying that this is not what he wanted. After showing the signed copies of solution, he said “I just signed the papers without reading”!! The fact was that the client himself didn’t know what he wanted.
In case of the new client, since we both didn’t know much about each other, we went through each documentation in detail. Wherever required, he changed his processes. Each and every output was a result of a deliberate discussion and plan.
We completed implementation in precisely three weeks for the new client who trusted us. We even recruited an accountant and trained him to do the job. We identified the dashboard reports to be prepared with their periodicity and ensured that the accountant submits the reports to the management on time.
Regarding the old client, we are still unsure about the intention as to whether to go for the new software or just continue to do what we are doing. The impasse continues in infinity!!
One can face various issues while implementing a software. There are various issues and I am trying to list only few which were related to our current assignment.
- In case of the new client, since we both didn’t know much about each other, we went through each documentation in detail. Wherever required, he changed his processes. Each and every output was a result of a deliberate discussion and plan.
- All software boast of hundreds of reports available. In reality, only few are worth looking at keeping in mind your business and your requirement. It is important to identify those reports and ensure they give you the information you need.
- No software will ever fulfil all your requirements. At times, you need to tweak your own processes – which may not have any standards and you may need to work around the software to get desired reports. If you are looking to customize the software, do it with the software supplier and don’t use in-house resources.
- Train the users of the software – not only accountants, but sales, purchase, logistics, warehousing and HR. Allow them to take the refresher courses or training every month or quarter to suit their needs.
- Write down the processes in plain and simple English and ask someone to translate into IT language. You need to have a mediator who knows what the user needs and what software can do!!
- Do a trial run with the current data and see the output from a system point of view as well as business results.
Call to action
We at 24A Plus don’t ever rush in to achieving anything. Implementation of ERP involves lots of things- right from understanding the business, the processes to printing reports. We may not understand how software works – and hence we take assistance form the software developers- but do understand what a software can do and should do!! Handholding for the next few months is also important as with live data, there could be issues in data entry, process timing, and system slow down and so on. Rest assured, we are there to stand next to you to solve all your problems!