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Common ERP Integration Challenges to Watch Out For

The tendency for businesses across all industries to embrace enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has proven itself to be more than a simple trend. The benefits of ERP integration are undeniable, from significant enhancements in productivity to reduction of human error in sales/inventory tracking and everything in-between. Incorporating ERP software into daily business practice isn’t always easy, though, as plenty of challenges exist to slow the process and create unnecessary headaches — the trick is knowing which ones to watch.

Implementing an ERP? Here are a handful of common challenges you may encounter, none of which will be true setbacks if you’re careful from start to finish.

Choosing the Right Vendor

There are about as many ERP software vendors out there as there are grains of sand in an hourglass. While this affords you and your team plenty of different options to choose from, it also means that knowing which direction to take can be exceedingly difficult. After all, not all vendors are created equal, and some lack basic elements like quality customer service and a proven industry track record. Choosing the right vendor can only happen by putting in the time and effort it takes to research your options, so don’t skip this all-important step. Additionally, you may want to ask for testimonials from past and current customers when interviewing an ERP vendor, which will give you third-party perspective.

Getting Senior Management to Commit

At the end of the day, cloud ERP solutions are only as effective as the people who are utilizing them. Training your staff how to properly use your new ERP is certainly going to be a challenge, but perhaps even more difficult will be getting senior management on board. While it’s important at a base level that management understands how to get the most out of the ERP and utilize it on a regular basis, these individuals also need to serve as examples for all every employee on staff. If management doesn’t know what they’re doing or show any interest in using ERP software to handle daily processes, chances are the rest of your employees won’t, either.

Sticking to Timelines

No matter what time of year you plan on setting aside the time to implement ERP software, it’s not likely to be the only thing you have going on. It can be tempting to set tight timelines for ERP integration so as to not offset the rest of the work you’re doing, but this isn’t always the best course of action. Roadblocks can certainly pop up, and if you don’t plan for them, the other work you and your team are attempting to accomplish may end up getting affected as a result. Rather than simply trying to get the process off your plate, set aside enough time to handle implementation without having to rush.

Technical Problems

Whenever you add a new type of software to the mix, you can expect to run into technical issues at one point or another. It may be that the software’s glitching, but more often than not, the problem simply comes down to a lack of end user understanding about a particular feature or functionality element. If you’re working with a cloud-based ERP as opposed to on-premises solution, the importance of strong and fast customer service from your software vendor cannot be overemphasized. ERPs are only functional when they work, after all, and your company can’t afford to have to deal with downtime.

ERP integration isn’t always as easy as most people would prefer, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Watch for the above challenges, and you shouldn’t run into any major issues.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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