ERP implementation is a complex process. However, if doing it right, it can bring great value to businesses

You may only want to implement an ERP solution in a department, or you may be aiming for an organization-wide implementation. In either case, it is crucial to have a comprehensive plan with phases and clear objectives to maximize your success.

In fact, the ERP implementation process can be full of implicit pitfalls. Some issues can be poor data migration and a lack of end-user training. Thus, successfully implementing ERP systems necessitates alignment, meticulous planning, and cross-functional collaboration.

In this article, we will discuss how organizations can successfully mitigate the major risks associated with large-scale software implementations by applying a clear methodology to the ERP implementation planning process.

ERP implementation phases

What is an ERP implementation?

An ERP system integrates many business functions, such as financial management, human resources, sales, and manufacturing. The ERP functions will bring benefits to businesses such as streamlined processes, increased productivity, and enhanced customer service.

An efficiency. ERP implementation refers to the process of designing, configuring, and deploying an ERP system. It can be on a departmental or organization-wide scale. The process typically lasts a few months. It is also complicated because an ERP implementation will affect multiple departments as well as support and automate numerous operational processes.

In order to achieve a successful ERP implementation, the organization must first carefully define its requirements, then determine how to redesign processes to take advantage of the system., configure the ERP system to support those processes, and finally rigorously test it before deploying it to users.

Completing all of those steps on time requires careful planning and a structured, phased implementation approach.

Six Key Phases of an ERP Implementation

There are 6 key phases in an ERP implementation plan with specific objectives. You can modify these phases to fit your business’ characteristics and requirements.

Overall, the 6 key phases of an ERP implementation are:

  1. Discovery & Planning
  2. Workflow designing
  3. Configuration and customization
  4. Testing
  5. Deployment
  6. Support and updates

Let’s dive into the details of the ERP implementation roadmap!

ERP Implementation Phases

Discovery & Planning

Discovering the requirements, and solutions, and creating an actionable plan are always the first steps in every business project, including Odoo ERP implementation.

The primary goals of this phase are:

  • Establishing a project team,
  • Conducting system research and selection,
  • Developing a detailed picture of current issues
  • Defining detailed system requirements.

The project team will be responsible for a wide range of implementation roles, such as laying out the project plan and time frames, allocating sufficient resources, making product and design decisions, and day-to-day project management.

An ERP project team usually includes an executive sponsor, a project leader, and representatives from the departments that will use the system. It is critical to involve senior management in ensuring that the project receives the resources it requires. And the project can access the necessary and impactful support as it implements changes across the organization.

During this phase, you may also hire an external consultant or ERP implementation partner like MonsterOdoo to assist with system design and configuration. With the support of an ERP consultant, you can find the right ERP solution for your business requirements and resources.

Workflow designing

Based on the detailed requirements and an understanding of current issues from the previous phase, you can design a new workflow and process. This new workflow will take advantage of the chosen ERP solution and mitigate the inefficiencies of the old operation.

It is crucial to involve users during this phase, as they have the clearest understanding of the current business processes. This also helps to ensure they will welcome the new system to do their work later on.

Gap analysis can be used to identify process complexities and unique quirks that may involve ERP software customization or changes to workflow or processes to better align with the ERP system itself. The team can identify potential solutions by presenting the gaps to its implementation partner or supplier.

Configuration and customization

The development phase can begin once finishing designing clear requirements. This involves configuring and, as needed, customizing the software to support the redesigned processes.

It may also include integrating the ERP system with any other existing business applications that will not be replaced by the ERP system. If you use an on-premises ERP system, the organization must install the required hardware and software.

It must also start planning data migration, which can be complicated because it frequently involves extracting, transforming, and loading data from multiple systems, each of which may use different formats and may contain duplicate or inconsistent information.

During this phase, the project team should decide which data to migrate, avoiding a blanket migration of all historical data, much of which is likely to be irrelevant. (For more information on data migration, see the section below.)

Comprehensive Testing

Testing and development can take place at the same time. The project team, for example, may test specific modules and features, then develop fixes or adjustments based on the results and retest.

Alternatively, it may test one ERP module while another is still being developed. Initial testing of the software’s basic functions should be accompanied by extensive testing of the system’s full capabilities, including allowing some employees to test the system for all of their day-to-day activities. This phase should also include testing of the migrated data as well as basic end-user training.


Deployment means rolling out the system to get users to start using it for their daily tasks. The ERP team will need to prepare to solve potential problems and be available to answer any questions. Your ERP partner should also be able to help with troubleshooting if necessary.

Some organizations may aim to deploy all ERP system modules concurrently, while others prioritize specific high-priority modules or processes first and add others later in stages. To reduce risk, some organizations run older systems concurrently with the new ERP implementation for a period of time, though this can increase overall project costs and reduce user productivity.

Support and updates

After deployment, nurturing your ERP implementation helps to keep users happy and ensure the business achieves the expected results. During this phase, the project team will still be in charge of the ERP system, but its focus will shift to listening to user feedback and adjusting the system accordingly.

As new features are added to the system, some additional development and configuration may be required. New employees must also be trained on the system.

ERP Implementation FAQ

1. What are some ERP implementation approaches?
There are three approaches to implementing an ERP system: big bang, phased, and parallel. Each method has both advantages and disadvantages. As a result, you’ll need to thoroughly understand each type before deciding on the one that best suits your IT setup.

  • The big bang approach: The big bang approach involves deploying ERP software for the entire organization at once. This means that the system will be deployed across business functions on the go-live date—manufacturing, operations, sales, finance, marketing, and so on.
  • The phased approach: This is the approach discussed above. Implementation is planned in stages, with each phase implementing the ERP system for one or more business processes. These phases can be planned by business department, location, manufacturing facility, and other factors.
  • The parallel approach: In the parallel approach, a new ERP system is implemented while legacy systems continue to operate in parallel. This reduces implementation risks because you can fall back on legacy systems if critical errors occur in the new system.

2. What is an ERP implementation failure in a case study and reasons?

If an ERP system is not implemented correctly and effectively, the costs and damages would be enormous; even the suffering company may shut down or be taken over. There are some famous cases of company ERP implementation failures, such as Nestlé USA, Hershey, and Nike.

The Leading Causes of ERP Implementation Failure

  • A lack of top-level leadership
  • Inadequate attention to business requirements
  • Inadequate compatibility between application software and business processes
  • insufficient implementation resources
  • There is no change management strategy.
  • Instead of a collaborative approach, use an autocratic approach
  • Inadequate disaster planning
  • Inadequate due diligence in checking client references
  • Unrealistic ROI and other ERP benefits expectations
  • End-user and department stakeholder training is inadequate.
  • straying from plans in order to save money
  • There is no mid- to long-term scalability.

3. What Are Some ERP Implementation Challenges?

Some challenges to take into account when implementing an ERP system are:

  • Choosing the right solution There are several ERP system options available to serve different business needs. Choosing the right solution and implementation consultant can be challenging, and you need to involve senior management to tackle it.
  • Data conversion: When attempting to merge several disparate datasets into a single ERP database, data conversion can become a major headache. Cleaning the data before importing it lowers the likelihood of duplicated or corrupted data populating your database. A good implementation plan will map out data fields, data types, and their relationships to the ERP as a whole, improving efficiency from the importing phase to the go-live phase.
  • Involve employees to accept the new changes: People are naturally resistant to change, which can lead to issues when end users or management refuse to use the new system, instead opting for legacy installations. A change management plan that includes training, communication, and the participation of stakeholders from each department will help to avoid unnecessary strife caused by change resistance.
  • Technical ERP challenge: Purchasing new servers, workstations, and other ERP hardware may be costly due to the high bandwidth and low latency required for the new system’s efficient operation. Choosing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) for implementation could significantly reduce costs by providing on-demand processing, bandwidth, and storage at an affordable price.

4. How Can SMBs Succeed in Implementing an ERP System?

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) frequently operate on tighter budgets, necessitating greater precision and discipline in implementation than larger enterprises. As a result, ERP implementation strategies for SMBs must directly address the business’s unique requirements and work closely with staff, particularly end users to ensure that the implementation results in the expected benefits.

Below are ERP implementation steps SMBs should take to increase the possibility of a successful ERP implementation:

  • First and foremost, obtain full implementation support from the company’s owners, C-level executives, department heads, and managers.
  • Define your business objectives, processes, and IT requirements to support those objectives.
  • Outline the anticipated business benefits of the ERP.
  • Ensure that any new ERP is compatible with the existing systems.
  • Before full implementation, train staff on the new system.
  • Facilitate communication within and between departments and teams.
  • Before attempting a bigger target, prioritize quick, short-term wins.

According to a study published by the Association for Information Systems, smaller businesses benefit more from successful ERP implementations’ cross-functionality than large enterprises.

5. How to choose the right ERP implementation consultant?

Depending on the ERP solution you choose, you may be able to select the ERP provider as your implementation partner.

Before purchasing the solution, schedule a meeting with the implementation partner, especially if the software company provides an in-house team. The company may rely on a group of implementation actors, some of whom will be more skilled than others.

Through an honest and open discussion of your business objectives, try to determine their experience in your industry or vertical. Obtain customer references and conduct due diligence on them to learn how well the ERP implementation consultant performed for other organizations in your industry.

If implementation teams are rewarded for completing an ERP installation and configuration in a timely manner, financial incentives will almost certainly take precedence over ensuring a perfect fit of the software and business processes.

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