The list of activities needed to move an ERP implementation project from idea to reality is enormous, and the thought of checking off that last task can be exhilarating. But before you consider your ERP initiative truly done, there are a few closeout items that need to be handled.
Even though your new ERP system probably came complete with reams of documentation, the vastness of these solutions means that you should note down some details that may be unique to your organization.
- List the internal systems that are now integrated with the ERP. Include vendor contact information in case you need quick support for issues or future updates.
- Do the same for external platforms. These may include systems maintained by your suppliers, your customers, and any third-party data sources you poll for information.
- Note the cybersecurity measures that are active in your environment. It’s also helpful to record any findings about vulnerabilities that you may have gleaned from security assessments conducted just before or just after the ERP cutover date.
- Document your user training program and upload the first batch of end user training records. This makes it far easier to keep things updated as you onboard new hires and add features to your ERP.
These elements may seem trivial compared to the core system documentation the project team has been handling throughout the execution. However, some of these details are likely to be difficult to recall from memory later, so compiling them while your ERP project is still fresh will pay off in the long run.
2: Review adjacent and integrated systems
Now that your new ERP platform is fully integrated, it’s time to step back and inspect the rest of your technology stack. Look for errors or alarms, new security gaps, and instances of performance degradation.
- Did any downstream integrations or automations break that haven’t yet been noticed?
- Do you have any planned upgrades on the horizon that could change how other systems communicate with the ERP?
- Are data processing tasks taking longer than usual?
- Do vendor login credentials need to be revoked or adjusted now that the implementation is nearly complete?
Addressing these tasks can help maintain good network security and they’ll also focus your attention on any IT areas that may need some adjustments before you can finalize your implementation.
3: Discuss the project’s performance with implementation partners
Once your vendors have wrapped up activities such as user training sessions and the last of the software customization tweaks, bring your implementation partners together for a freeform discussion about the project. Pose some targeted questions to gather information you can use to further improve your project performance and fine tune your planning, execution, and closeout skills.
Ask vendors how well communications were handled. Dig into any comments about communication bottlenecks or slow response times. Were questions addressed quickly? Did your partners have access to key stakeholders? Would more (or less) frequent discussions have been helpful? These insights will help you plug any communication gaps going forward.
Solicit feedback on the training program. Ask vendors about their experience with different training strategies and what’s worked well. Look for ways to deliver educational resources through multiple venues to enhance your processes. Review expenditures and inquire about the causes behind significant budget deviations. If estimates were wildly off the mark, find out why. Was old data used to develop the budget? Did costs change mid-stream? Were scope creep issues a factor in overages? Work with your implementation partners and your project team to fix your processes so future projects don’t experience the same difficulties
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