What to expect from your first ERP implementation

By on 4th March 2016

Your manager announced the company is moving forward with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation.

As you should feel excited about the opportunity to learn a new, cutting-edge software, you are most likely wondering how this will impact your day-to-day work flow change, and what will be expected of you.

Here are some insights that may help you prepare for what’s to come.

Double duty

During certain phases of the implementation, there will be times when you’ll be doing all of your expected job responsibilities, plus answering requests from the implementation team.

You’ll need extra time for information gathering, training, testing, ensuring data integrity and troubleshooting. Keep a positive outlook and stay enthusiastic – try to see the bigger picture. This is more than an ERP implementation – it’s also an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Planning ahead

Psych yourself up for learning, growing, and being challenged by new experiences – expect the unexpected. Think about how you can be an effective influencer as the implementation progresses. Plan with a vision of success in mind and let the games begin.


Every process and all the tasks associated with it will have to be documented on a flowchart. Research business process flowchart samples online to see how they work. The more you know about the implementation steps in advance, the better prepared you will be to handle whatever task is required.

Cross-functional teams

Get ready for meetings – and lots of them. People from all departments will need to come together in teams to discuss the interdependencies of their respective processes. Each team’s goal is to develop procedures and agree on best practices for process automation.


Here’s your chance to make sure the new system does what it is supposed to do. You’ll provide samples of common transactions (aka test scenarios) to enter in the system, either by copying source documents or writing out the required steps along with the expected results.

Some examples are entering a new customer record, entering their purchase order, shipping the order, invoicing the shipped order, and entering the invoice payment. Did everything post in all the different modules as expected? If not, you’ll need to log each error for the programmers to fix before the new system goes live.

If you’re a proponent of the test phase, you’ll enjoy the glory of a successful implementation.

Process re-engineering

You’ll most likely be asked to provide an outline of your job duties with step-by-step details to the business process owner, who is responsible for overseeing the new system’s work flow functionality. Be prepared to think of ways to improve your processes with basic automation.

By doing so, you’ll add value to the planning phase and gain higher visibility as a key contributor. Remember, your skilled input will be critical for ensuring the new system is configured properly.

Custom functionality

How much, if any, customisation is done to the system is a key consideration. Keep the costs in mind.

For non-core tasks you believe are still critical, think creatively about how to achieve a custom result within the given functionality. Your manager will appreciate your cost-consciousness.

Impact on others

When you cross something off your typical to-do list, how many people did you depend upon throughout that process in order to finalise it? In planning for automating each of your processes, think about how realistic your ideas are for others involved and whose buy-in you’ll need.

Clean data

All or most of your historic data will be migrated to the new system. How clean are your customer, vendor and product lists? 

Try to clean-up your current system to avoid transferring any duplicate or outdated data to the new system. Identify standard naming conventions and abbreviations, such as spelling out “Company” versus entering “Co.”

Remember, the idea is to improve the process via automation. If you move a bad process to a shiny new system, you won’t reap the expected benefits.


Once you know how much of the historic data will be used, you’ll need reports from the old system that show the associated financial amounts. After the data is migrated, you’ll run the same reports in the new system to make sure they match and reconcile any differences.


Make sure you take ownership of the system. Make sure you have a say in how it’s configured so you can do your absolute best during the implementation and stand out as a valued team player. This is a great opportunity to acquire new skills, improve the quality of your work and bring your career to the next level.

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