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If experience has taught me anything it’s that the quickest way to get your SaaS ERP/CRM system working is to slow down, take a breath, and begin taking steady, measured steps forward.
What does this look like? It starts with three main points.
1: A Realistic Goal: Aim for a relatively generic system that performs mission-critical operations well. Many areas of the system will need to be customized as your employees begin to use the software and provide feedback. Many small adjustments will be made that move you into cutting costs and raising employee efficiency in ways that you never considered before. The system you should be shooting for should be able to easily carry out the core functions of your business.
2: They don’t bite off more than they can chew: You may be excited at the idea of having all of your business systems finally talking to each other automatically. You see an ERP system that’s integrated with CRM and POS systems as well as your Web store and project management system. Indeed these can all be realized. Doing them all at once can be overwhelming to your team as well as your staff. Take one module at a time. Basic ERP operations first. Then basic CRM. Normal sized bites.
3: Commitment over the long haul: This seems like the easiest to many people. I believe it’s actually the hardest. Too often people begin a project with enthusiasm and then fade away as the months wane on and new projects pop up that are “more important”. Commitment over the long haul begins with a core team of people that have influence within the company. They meet regularly to discuss progress, needs and obstacles. They are committed to spending regular amounts of time to this project. They are committed to see the project finish so abandoning the system is off the table throughout the project lifecycle. They work with each other and with the implementation partner on a slow, measured basis to get things done one step at a time.
Experience has also shown me that if an implementation fails or is heavily delayed it’s often because this steady walk forward was discarded for a quick dash to “GoLive” or a painstaking crawl to ultimate perfection in version one of the release.
In our next entry we will discuss two truths that are often ignored in an implementation. These often lead to a delayed or abandoned project and an unsatisfied company of users.