Executives and employees alike often mistakenly believe that a completed digital transformation marks the end of an implementation. In this sense, the terms “implementation” and “installation” are problematic because they imply a finite timeline to mastering a new process. This misconception is prevalent up, down, and across organizational hierarchies, and the neglect that it instills can cause serious issues for enterprises down the road.
As you will see, the process of conducting an ERP rollout is much more than just the implementation phase — especially for multinational firms with subsidiaries spread across the globe. In these cases, it’s more helpful to look at the “implementation process” as an infinite life cycle that requires constant upkeep and management. Otherwise, executives and upper management may fall into a more complacent approach, overlooking the critical processes, relationships, and services that contribute to a properly maintained global rollout.
Just like living plants, animals, and all manner of living beings require constant maintenance, so too does an organization as it expands. ERP providers and rollout experts function as a key component of enterprise systems as they develop.
Global ERP Rollouts in the Cloud Era
In addition to supporting the growth of small and medium businesses, cloud applications also pave the way to a more connected economy on a global scale. Companies now have the option of storing their ERPs on-premise, remotely on the cloud, or through a combination of individual and public servers. The ERP implementation process is generally thought to consist of three stages: planning, configuring, and deploying.
Implementing ERPs is an iterative process covering an extended period. Each of the three major phases has its own cycle of planning, executing, and refining the ERP to adapt to market demands and improve processes.
It’s widely accepted that there are six individual stages of the ERP rollout process, each of which coincides with the overarching phases of planning, configuration, and deployment.
- Research and Planning
- Ongoing Support
The final stage of ongoing support is crucial to the long-term success of any global ERP rollout. This is where the ecosystem of people who engage with the ERP system, from subsidiary workers to headquarters executives to business partners and clients, will uncover flaws and imperfections with the system.
Before the advent of cloud computing, companies could fully warehouse their ERPs on-site and had more control over the operations. Now that distributed technologies are making it easier to scale through off-site and shared servers, the digital tools used by enterprises face an increasing number of complicating factors. Constant innovations and updates to the ERP product mean the “rollout” is an ongoing process. This provides enterprises with more agility in the face of rapidly changing global markets but also leads to significant challenges.
Challenges Hindering ERP Rollout Success
Regardless of the industry and scope of enterprise operations, one of the major hindrances in the success of an ERP rollout process is the sheer complexity. The timeline of the average ERP rollout, estimated to be between 7 months and over one year, tells you everything you need to know about the complicated nature of the process. The technical, procedural, and organizational variables in consideration are daunting, to say the least.
In addition to a complete overhaul of digital infrastructure and organizational protocols, a digital transformation necessitates that enterprises take steps to integrate and refine their data stores. By transforming the enterprise data structure into a more holistic system, companies can unlock insights to reduce cost, improve efficiencies, and improve communication. However, this is much easier said than done.
Most enterprise data is siloed across departments. For multinational enterprises, this issue is compounded exponentially by the number of subsidiaries. Extensive expertise in data handling is necessary to ensure that a proper data transformation doesn’t spiral out of control and become a costly, counterproductive effort.
With all of the focus on software solutions and digital infrastructure, global enterprises can forget to consider the human side of their transformations. Empirical studies find that human factors like organizational behavior and training are just as crucial to a successful ERP implementation as addressing technological needs. Change management at the local, global, and intermediary levels is needed to ensure all facets of the organization are prepared for the long-term success of a global ERP rollout. Without properly training workers across headquarters and subsidiary establishments, it is nearly impossible for a global ERP rollout to occur smoothly.
ERP Lifecycle Management for Rollout Success and Beyond
It’s readily apparent that a “one and done” approach to successful global ERP rollouts is no longer possible in the cloud era. There are too many technological and organizational variables for a company to adequately address them in the typical 6-12 month period. Without proper guidance from expert consultants, a global ERP rollout can quickly become a costly, wasteful endeavor.
This is where companies like be one solutions are an invaluable asset for growing, multinational companies. By leveraging the experience of our international SAP rollout experts, enterprises receive the relationship capital they need to carry out the 6th stage of ERP implementation. This turns a typically short maintenance and support stage into a powerful relationship that builds organizational strength across headquarter and subsidiary establishments.
Our extended ERP lifecycle management has helped over 500 subsidiaries from over 60 different countries to fully realize the benefits of a successfully sustained global SAP ERP rollout. To learn more about how be one solutions is the right business partner to carry your organization into the future, contact us today!
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