How to implement an ERP system in 6 easy steps


💡 Did you know? An estimated 55% to 75% of all ERP projects fail (Gartner).

Whether you choose SAP, Infor, Sage X3, Microsoft Dynamics 365, or Oracle, the success of your ERP implementation won’t depend entirely on the tool. You, your users, and your organization will face numerous hurdles between the phases of implementation and successful adoption… resistance to change, migration of data, onboarding, and training to name a few. So how do you meet these challenges head-on?

Need help diagnosing issues, communicating, training, or measuring ROI? Lemon Learning can guide you through your ERP system setup in 6 simple steps.

Step 1: make a diagnosis

Get ready for step one! Are you implementing a new ERP system to replace outdated processes? Do you have issues with user performance? Keep things simple. Start by analyzing the state of your organization along with your current ERP, to find out what worked, what didn’t, and what your end-users have in mind.

Start by asking the right questions:

  • What issues are driving you to deploy an ERP? 
  • What is your main challenge in this project? 
  • Who are the people involved in the implementation of the ERP system? 
  • What are the different existing information flows?
  • What tools are used by the different teams involved?
  • What are the business processes involved?
  • What is the biggest challenge of your ERP deployment? 
  • What will make your ERP sustainable? 

The answers to these questions will provide invaluable information allowing you to:

  • Identify the needs of your organization.
  • Establish a coherent ERP specification.
  • Implement an ERP with management modules adapted to your needs.

🍋 A Lemon Learning tip: From beginning to end, involve your organization in the ERP implementation

You can rarely diagnose a health issue without your patient being present. The same principle applies to your company and its users. It’s fundamental to include your organization in the diagnosis phase from day 1 of your ERP project. But how do you start?

  • Set up a project team: The project team are team responsible for deploying the ERP. These project leaders will need to draw up a set of specifications to ensure the project runs smoothly. The ideal team will consist of 2 to 3 people with complementary profiles.
  • Involve management: An ERP rollout without the support of your managers is a losing game. With management on your side, their leadership will be instrumental in advocating the project and facilitating the engagement of other employees.
  • Involve end-users: When it comes to software adoption, your end-users are number one. Their needs, opinions, and feedback are valuable insights into how the next ERP should function.

Step 2: select an ERP system in line with your business needs and goals

It’s time to choose your ERP! Oracle, SAP, Infor, Dynamics 365…with so many options on the market it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But the reality is, that not all solutions will suit your digital transformation challenges. Stick to the results of your diagnosis to select what’s right for the company based on the real needs of your stakeholders and wider organization.

  • Generalist ERP or a specialized ERP system?: it all depends on your needs, you could opt for a general-purpose ERP or a specialized one, better adapted to the challenges in your sector.
  • Open source ERP, proprietary ERP, or Saas ERP?: it all comes down to the results of your diagnosis. An open-source ERP system is less expensive because it doesn’t require a license. Whereas a proprietary ERP system does, giving your company access to help throughout the project and after-sales service. And lastly is Saas mode, enabling you to work anywhere from the Cloud under a subscription model. 

Identify the value of each ERP and match what works best for you with your needs. To make the right choice, means asking the right questions.

  • What is the functional coverage offered by the different ERP software publishers? 
  • How complex is the software package (use, configuration, integration with information systems)? 
  • Is the ERP offer scalable (can it support your growth)? 
  • What is the level of maintenance offered? 
  • What is the possible geographical coverage? 
  • Finally, what are the customer reviews?

Step 3: communicate, communicate, communicate

At Lemon Learning, we’re huge advocates of clear and consistent communication. And for good reason. The numbers are indisputable. 

As with any tool, an ERP should be selected, deployed, and scaled based on the stakeholders involved, or not at all. The success and ROI of any tool come down to the end-user. A new tool is only half the journey, with obstacles and roadblocks at every turn. It’s natural for your users to react with frustration and resistance towards a new tool, so your role is to communicate and prepare them for change. The department responsible for leading this mission among both employees and management will be the project team. 

Here are some of the questions that need answering:

  • What are the reasons for the ERP deployment in your organization?
  • Which departments are involved (finance, logistics, HR, etc.)?
  • How will the ERP implementation be carried out (implementation, training, transition to the solution)?
  • And above all, what do your employees have to gain from this change?

Discussing these questions will help garner employee engagement and support for ERP and digital adoption. It’s therefore imperative to communicate before, during, and after the implementation project. 

🍋 A Lemon Learning tip: facilitate a digital culture in your organization

If you are implementing an ERP system in your organization, you’re already on the path to digital transformation. It might not be your first rodeo but remember to embed the value of transformation into your corporate culture. And for good reason. Not everyone has the same digital skill set or relationship with digital tools, so it’s vital to support each one in their understanding of digital transformation. The aim is to demystify ‘digital’ and everything it represents to your users. Showing them the added value of change (skills, time, performance) will help to reduce resistance to change long term.

Step 4: launch your ERP deployment 

Now that you’ve diagnosed the issues, selected the right ERP, communicated the transformation, and selected the right ERP system, it’s time to launch! But what does that mean in practice?

  • Configure your ERP: the initial setup of your ERP is a fundamental step to address all the issues discovered during the diagnosis phase.
  • Test your ERP: testing, testing 1, 2, 3. Adjust your ERP system according to your specific needs.
  • Deploy your ERP: once your configuration tests are complete, it’s time to deploy your solution. 
  • Maintain your ERP: finally, post deployment it’s essential to maintain your ERP.

In a study, 95% of respondents improved some or all of their business processes with ERP implementation (Panorama Consulting).

🍋 A Lemon Learning tip: switch to embedded ERP support

Did you know? It takes on average 24.2 hours for support teams to provide an initial response to internal tickets (ZenDesk). The solution? Upgrade to 3.0 support: embedded application support. Thanks to solutions like Lemon Learning, you can integrate 24/7 support directly into your ERP. You can reduce support requests and costs while improving team efficiency. 

Step 5: train users inside your ERP system

Congratulations, you’ve deployed your new ERP. Now you can begin to train your employees inside it! 

Dashboards, reporting, invoicing… training applies to all ERP solutions. It’s a pivotal step in the adoption process, directly impacting user churn and the success of your tool. In other words, it directly affects the success of your deployment. So like any first interaction, you can increase the chances of success by making a good impression! 

🍋 A Lemon Learning tip: Train users inside their ERP system

What if we told you your employees could train themselves independently while reducing technical support requests and support costs? With a digital adoption platform, you can make it a reality. The key to software training is three words: embedded application support.

With Lemon Learning’s embedded application support, your users learn to master their ERP directly from within. Need to create a list of production materials, manage quotes, or track merchandise? It’s all possible inside the platform, thanks to our Learning by doing methodology. It means your users can learn, train and work all at once!

Thanks to embedded application support, users have the information at their fingertips in the form of short, digestible guides. Need an overview of suppliers to generate reports, want to customize invoices or collect an accurate view of inventory? Users can do it all with complete independence, while your support teams spend less time answering internal tickets. 

Step 6: measure the ROI of your ERP implementation

It’s not over yet! Now that efficient training allows your users to handle the ERP system, it’s time to measure their performance on the tool. But how? Start by defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to help measure the success of your deployment. 

For example:

  • The evolution of employee productivity
  • The evolution of delivery times
  • The stock turnover rate

An ERP system is much like a central nervous system, with numerous processes taking place at once. It is important to define KPIs adapted to each of these processes for more accurate measurement of user performance. Collecting these KPI results provides data to identify what works and what doesn’t for regular improvements to your ERP system. But how to go about it? 

🍋 Lemon Learning tip: Heard of Learning Analytics? Leverage the data on user interactions with their tool to concretely display the success of your tool.

Let’s take the example of a poorly mastered voucher management feature. With Learning Analytics, it’s possible to get to the heart of the problem: recurring mistakes made by multiple users, in the same process, as a direct result of not consulting a dedicated guide. Being able to identify these hurdles means you can adapt, change and optimize your ERP training to improve usability.  

You made it! Now you know all the steps to set up an ERP system. Let’s take a quick recap.

  1. Make a diagnosis
  2. Select an ERP system in line with your business needs and goals
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
  4. Launch your ERP deployment 
  5. Train users inside your ERP system
  6. Measure the ROI of your ERP implementation

Want to know more? Discover how you can accelerate your ERP adoption with our digital adoption solutions. We’re already available on SAP, Oracle, Infor, Dynamics 365, and on any other online tool, including your in-house applications!

Tags: ERP