Making mistakes is part of life and business and can often lead us to make better decisions and smarter moves in the future. But some mistakes are costly, frustrating, and better off avoided - like those that often happen during ERP implementation.
SAP B1 benefits are well known and often well worth the effort and cost of implementing all its features. But the implementation of a SAP system like yours is often a sizeable job and a serious investment. Make a mistake during any phase, and you could very well quickly end up back where you started - with a system that doesn't support your business. And you will have paid a pretty penny for the experience. It's important to ensure all the features of your current system has been implemented well to avoid returning to square one.
Previously, we've spoken about how important the software implementation process is. It's the implementation, more than the software itself, that really defines the functionality outcomes you'll achieve with your SAP system.
An ERP is meant to make business more efficient, not less. And while there are mistakes that can be easily made during implementation of new features, they can also easily be avoided with the right know-how. With the right approach and knowledge, it's possible to ensure your SAP B1 implementation has been effective, timely and no more expensive than necessary.
3 common software implementation mistakes
No one goes into using additional features of their ERP with a lukewarm attitude and mindset. Businesses expect great outcomes from their investment and want to enjoy the benefits they've seen their peers and competitors achieve.
However, there are three mistakes made again and again during the rollout of new features in an ERP that restrict businesses from truly benefiting from their software in the long run.
Not allowing enough time
It's not uncommon for businesses to want to be up and running with new features of their ERP within four to eight weeks. To make this possible, several tasks need to be looked at, from cleaning the master data to learning the software to ensuring document layouts are all correctly formatted. While it's all possible within the timeframe, many business owners and leaders significantly underestimate the time commitment required to make it happen. Simply focusing on the day-to-day work and believing they'll "find time later" leads to the implementation being continuously delayed.
Thinking the tech will work magically out of the box
The benefits of your SAP system don’t come for free. For businesses to truly achieve the automation and efficiency they're looking for and make the most of particular functions SAP B1 can offer, they have to learn and understand how each function works.
For example, they might want to use their software to include a pay now option on invoices, which is a wonderful cash flow improvement technology. But to make the function work in the chosen software, they need to understand how it all works in the background. If you are having trouble with your roll out of new features in SAP B1 it can be useful to approach an expert like KBS for advice.
Not optimising for individual business
Efficiency looks different for every business and every business process. Not understanding how that process should or could work in an individual business case will lead to missed opportunities and not using the SAP software you have invested time and money into to the best of its abilities. Simply automating a process does not guarantee the desired outcome - not through any fault of the software, but because the business process hasn't been reviewed, understood or optimised for the ERP.
Look before you leap
These mistakes generally stem from a lack of knowledge around the SAP software and how it works with each business process. The more you know about something and the best way to do it, the better the outcome and the lower the risk of costly mistakes.
Simply, knowledge is power. Software is not a magic pill to transform areas of business efficiency – it needs to be driven by someone and taught how to perform correctly for each business.
But not all business leaders are also software experts. Before choosing to implement a new software feature, ensure you ask yourself:
- Do you have the knowledge you need?
- Do you have the skills and resources to gain it?
- Do you have the time to commit to learning it?
Often, it all comes back to the number one problem facing smaller business executives: the lack of time. If we all had enough to sit down and seriously consider every detail of our business, we'd enjoy a lot more optimal outcomes than what we actually do!
Ensuring effective implementation, desired functionality and avoiding the mistakes that will stop you from achieving them requires finding a balance between gaining the right level of knowledge and still having time to run your business.
External knowledge can save you time and money
When tax time rolls around, you go to an accountant to do your return because they're experts, and they know all the deductions you can get. You'll end up with more of a return and less of a headache than if you were to attempt it yourself. The same logic applies to expanding into new area of your ERP.
The best, easiest and most cost-effective way to achieve an optimal outcome without a major time commitment is to engage an expert. Did you know that KBS offer specialised auditing and advice services for all our customers? We can look at your current system setup and ensure you have the knowledge and understanding to expand into previously unused areas of SAP B1 to actively promote quality outcomes for your business. You'll gain all the knowledge you need to ensure optimal outcomes and ROI, and you'll gain the relevant information that allows you to act and move faster.
An expert consultant can guide you and explain how operations need to be implemented or improved and keep you on track. The trick is open and effective communication of what you are trying to achieve. When doing so, always make sure you provide your consultant:
- Your business goals
- Areas where you can augment their experience with your own knowledge/experience
- Feedback of all key project points you do and do not understand
Tick off each of these traits, and you can be sure you're setting yourself up to achieve better outcomes, realistic expectations, and the functionality you need within the desired timeframe.
At Key Business Solutions, we've partnered with dozens of Australian small and medium businesses to implement and maximise the use of leading ERP software and expand business growth and capability. You can read some of their success stories here. Or check out software solutions we can offer you with here.