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ERP Selection & Implementation: A Timeline of Events

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Written by Laura Schomaker

July 9, 2021

Are you on course to select and implement a new ERP solution? An ERP implementation can take anywhere from several months to a few years. Having an idea of an ERP project timeline can help you frame the project in your mind as you move forward with it. The following is a basic timeline of events that you can expect to see during an ERP implementation.  

Phase 1—Discovery and Planning 

The first phase in your ERP timeline will involve discovery and planning. You want to have staff members from across departments involved in this stage of your process. A successful ERP implementation involves changes to workflows, and you will need the feedback from these employees during the ERP selection process. What do they need from ERP? Where can ERP fill in the blanks in their daily workflow and make their work more effective? Gather a group of employees who can provide this essential feedback so you can select the right solution.  

Next, create a shortlist of ERP vendors and request demos from them. Demos can take anywhere from an hour or two to a full day, but they are worth it. They are the best way to understand how a particular ERP solution will function for your business.  


Phase 2—Design 

Once you have selected an ERP vendor and know what you want to get out of your ERP, you will enter the design phase. In the design phase, you and your ERP partner will work closely together to ensure that your ERP solution fits your needs.  


Phase 3—Development 

The development stage will be primarily in the hands of your ERP partner. In this phase, they will build the solution based on your established parameters and preparing all necessary training materials you will need to get your team up and running post-implementation. Data migration may begin in this stage, meaning that you and your team may have to clean and organize data to reduce redundancies in your new system.  


Phase 4—Testing 

Testing happens throughout ERP implementation, but key QC testing will take place in phase 4 of your timeline. Proactive testing ensures problems are spotted early and nipped in the bud, limiting cost and complexity after you go live.  

Phase 5—Deployment 

Your configuration is complete, your data is clean and fully migrated, and you are ready to go live! Just before and/or during phase 5 of your ERP project timeline, you will want to ensure that your employees start their training in the new system. Adoption of this new technology will be much easier when your employees have the skills and information they need about your new ERP solution.  


Phase 6—Support 

The last phase should continue in perpetuity for the life of your ERP solution. Your ERP vendor will troubleshoot issues, run updates, and let you know about new modules they feel might benefit your organization as you grow. Continue to ask for employee feedback, as their perspective is vital to keeping an ERP solution functioning in the best possible way.  

An ERP implementation can take time, but it delivers, improving performance, efficiency, and productivity at your business. Learn everything you need to know with our ERP buying guide. Or tell us about your own ERP timeline in the comments below.  

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