ERP Implementation Process Pitfalls
(For Singaporean Companies)
For over 20 years ERP systems have brought revolutionary efficiency to business processes, and it is well-known that having the right ERP system for your company can have a hugely beneficial impact on your competitiveness. However, the numbers show how difficult it can be to get value from ERP since many companies have difficulty during the ERP implementation process.
One of the keys to good technology management is being aware of context. This is especially important when it comes to buying ERP software for small business. You need to be well-informed when looking for a solution, so here are some best practices for businesses in Singapore.
ERP In A Singaporean Context
Solutions and plans that work well in one business environment may not be optimal in another. There are a couple of things that Singaporean businesses should keep in mind:
Government Grant Financing
The grants available to Singaporean businesses to finance an ERP implementation process are some of the best in the world, with grants like PIC and ICV bringing up-front costs to nearly $0. While businesses in other places might be very price-sensitive due to the costs associated with ERP, Singaporean companies can turn their attention to high-quality solutions, and also shift their budgeting focus to look for solutions that have lower service and maintenance costs.
Implications for Singapore buyers: Place more emphasis on solutions that are cheaper to maintain, and don’t be afraid of higher up-front price tags if the quality is there.
The Singaporean skills pool
The Singapore job market looks relatively stable for the coming year, despite economic challenges. There certainly shouldn’t be a skills shortage in most areas, with the exception of cybersecurity and business domain experts. Furthermore, the close proximity of many low-cost labour markets in or close to the South-East Asian region means talented offshore developers can be found for a good rate.
Implications for Singapore buyers: Technical ERP developers are widely available to contribute, while cybersecurity and domain experts (accounting, HR, logistics) are in high demand. Make sure your staff and/or the implementation partner have these bases covered, but technical ERP development skills are not as scarce a resource.
ERP Fit With Management Preferences
From the perspective of business culture, companies in Singapore need to consider how the technology will fit with their existing operation style. Some ERP systems increase departmental autonomy and shift analytical focus to short-term business goals. And some document sharing functionality of enterprise solutions may not suit your management style.
This is likely to not be such a problem, but it might be worth quickly checking with a prospective vendor if your company has a specific management “style”, they should be able to show that their solution is the perfect fit.
Implications for Singapore buyers: Ask any prospective ERP vendors about how their solution would fit your management style.
Design Your ERP Implementation Process
Other ERP buying considerations are relevant regardless of where you are operating:
Get a clear overview of your business processes and requirements
This is the main pitfall to avoid when searching for an ERP solution: not being aware of your company-specific requirements and priorities. Vendors will naturally try to demonstrate and emphasize all the functionality their solution offers, but you should be well-versed on the key priorities for your business since there is always a tradeoff involved.
Furthermore, have a deep understanding of your business processes or make sure someone in the buying team has this expertise, since this will make your decision making much better.
Future-proof your purchase
Don’t be too short-sighted when choosing an ERP. Planning for future developments can determine whether your implementation brings real business value. There are a few points to consider.
First, is the solution you’re going for in tune with upcoming technology trends? For example, if you had invested heavily in an on-premise CRM system right before the advent of cloud-based CRM solutions, you would have effectively wasted a lot of business value. Try to avoid a situation like this by asking vendors where they see the market going in the coming 12 months, and do some research of upcoming ERP trends.
Second, is the prospective solution in tune with wider trends in business technology? Smart devices, mobile working and next-generation business analytics are set to change the way business is done. The cloud has already done so. Make sure the solution you consider is compatible with these trends.
Post ERP Implementation Process Expertise
Look at the critical success factors unique to your business, and be certain that the expertise needed to deliver on these points can be found in your organisation, on the vendor support team, or with your integration partner.
If your company lacks in-house analytics expertise, for example, question your the vendor and consulting firm about their capabilities in this regard. Ask for references from their previous clients if necessary. The main reason ERP projects fail is due to lack of knowledge, so make sure your the right resources are available to match with your success factors.
Choosing an ERP is one of the more important business decisions you make. The stakes are high in terms of potential value and also the pitfalls. Like with most business decisions, context is key. The factors outlined here are good to consider before looking for a solution, allowing you to approach the buying process with a solid understanding of what your business needs from ERP.