Most ERP initiatives involve copious amounts of documentation. They’re complex and highly impactful projects, and rigorous recordkeeping helps keep these implementations progressing as expected.
But few teams have direct experience with these strategic efforts, and they may not recognize where quality documentation is most important. We’ve put together 9 components in the ERP project lifecycle where good documentation can pay big dividends.
Project teams already create scopes of work for other initiatives, but ERP implementations benefit from more attention when it comes to documenting parameters. To avoid scope creep and ensure the right resources are available when needed, consider partnering with an experienced ERP project management consultancy to assist in crafting a detailed project scope document.
ERP implementations touch numerous departments and functional areas, and each group has unique requirements for the new system. It’s important to understand these different expectations so that everyone gets what they need from the implementation. Documenting the full range of business needs gives the project team and integration partners important insight into optimal system configurations.
Before the team can design and launch an ERP solution that serves the organization’s needs, you should first understand the business processes that will flow through the platform or be affected by its implementation. By thoroughly documenting each process, you’ll gain a comprehensive view of which processes will change, where new processes are needed, and where redundant processes can be consolidated.
Support groups and their areas of responsibility
There are many sub-teams helping to move your ERP implementation to a successful completion. Some may not work directly with the new technology, but their support is still instrumental in getting the system up and running. Document those support groups and their respective responsibilities. This helps stakeholders understand where assistance and other resources are available, and how to go about requesting help from them.
Internal and external integrations
Today’s ERP platforms can integrate with numerous other systems, both within the organization and across a range of outside vendors, service providers, and information sources. Thoroughly documenting these connection points is crucial to maintain good system security, ensuring uninterrupted data flows, and delivering a good user experience.
Security and privacy practices
Existing cybersecurity and data privacy guidelines may not be suitable once the new ERP system goes live. You may have increased volumes of data, different types of information, and more regulatory governance to consider. Detailed documentation on your existing security and privacy practices enables your business to implement the proper controls and practices to remain compliant when using the new platform.
A detailed record of your training program allows you to see how well individual elements align with the new ERP solution’s features and capabilities. Itemize materials that will be given to training participants and document the flow of in-person and online instruction modules. You’ll also find it easier to maintain an effective refresher program with this foundational documentation in place.
Customization requirements and expectations
If there’s one area where scope creep is likely to occur in an ERP implementation project, it’s the scale and depth of customizations the business wants to apply. Keep a handle on customizations by compiling full descriptions of the anticipated software changes and note which stakeholder group(s) requested each one.
Data management needs and processes
Because there are often multiple sources sharing data through an ERP system, including internal departments and external partners, it’s prudent to document the steps necessary to cleanse, format, and migrate information that will enter the platform. Clear and concise protocols give everyone the information they need avoid entering poor quality data into the new solution.