How Long Should an ERP Implementation Take?

How Long Should an ERP Implementation Take?

When it comes to ERP implementations, “How long?” is usually the one question that rivals “How much?”. These questions are tied closely in a business culture to a “Time is money” kind of mentality. If you are looking to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, however, this result-driven thought process might need to shift to the back burner for a minute...probably longer.

The short answer is, there is no standard ERP implementation timeline because it varies depending on several circumstances.

Generally, implementing an ERP project takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. It can vary widely, however, depending on the following factors:

  • Size of the company
  • Complexity of the system being installed, including ISV add-ons and required customizations
  • Expected concurrent users
  • Number of independent instances set up
  • Cloud versus on-premises
  • Transfer from or integration with legacy systems, including data

Here are some tips to help you determine your timeline:

  • Pull the right internal team together
  • Don't rush it! Take time to document processes and gather information on the issues you want to solve and the goals you want to achieve with a new ERP system, including documenting existing processes and identifying anything that needs changing
  • Ensure availability of key staff and resources for the project, from planning to testing and user training
  • Clean up your data and decide what you need to transfer (this will save a LOT of time)

One Last But Important Tip: Start Planning Early, Starting With Selecting A Partner

At the beginning and throughout the project, it is imperative to focus on the relationship between vendor and client. This will go a long way in determining how long an erp implementation will take. In fact, it should start long before the beginning of the project; finding the right partner early on can help you answer that "time" question along with shortening it. In fact, a great way to start off is with a business analysis. An open dialogue is important for each side to understand your requirements and how to best implement the system to fulfill them. Without both sides being fully involved in the elicitation of requirements, the chances of ERP implementation failure rise significantly and quickly. This interchange should continue in later stages as well. You and your partner must train future users to use the system and see the value that is being added to the business. It’s a process that can take a significant amount of time depending on the depth of training required.

So, while the average timeline for an ERP implementation can’t be estimated before the requirements are fully defined, you should be mindful in keeping realistic expectations. This process is by no means quick, and it cannot be rushed. Examining your processes and determining the best course for the future is a process that must be navigated thoughtfully. With your partner, you can develop an implementation plan that sets benchmarks to be checked along the way. Together, you can talk to understand the variables that might increase or decrease the duration of the project. Stakeholders may become agitated at the length of time required to complete the project, but remember, future gains will be realized if the process isn’t deprived of the necessary care.

Learn More For A Successful, Efficient ERP Implementation

To read more about ERP project implementations, check out the following from ArcherPoint, then contact us to discuss your needs and requirements for your new ERP.

Project Management Budgeting: Phase in, Phase out – it’s the Agile Way!

Ensure Success with Your Next ERP Implementation

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