Enterprise software projects never end, and that is a good thing.

William van Zweeden

Business innovation is never a single event but a continuous process of discovery, engineering and transformation. The same goes for implementing business applications like ERP and CRM; these systems are not one-time projects. Instead, introducing a new core system is the beginning of a journey towards higher efficiency and better customer satisfaction using data, AI, and automation. 6 tips to keep your software and your global enterprise adaptive, agile and competitive.

Implementing a new ERP or other core system is a significant investment for a company. It is important to consider it a flexible foundation for an ever-evolving business rather than a one-time project. By shifting from project services to managed services, you can ensure that your organisation remains digitally fit and future-proof.

The initial return on investment (ROI) of any core Business Application implementation depends on how your organisation improves its workflows and business processes. Still, the growth potential of the system often needs to be developed more effectively. By keeping your ERP system fit, you can avoid replacing it within five to ten years, saving a significant investment and minimising the impact on your operations. Continuous change management is essential to ensure that your applications and organisation remain agile and well-functioning.

1. Keep 'continues improvement' teams in place

Once your Business Application is up and running, it is important to maintain the project group coordinating the implementation, as management buy-in and top-down support are crucial for adoption. In addition, as the organisation's business needs change, employees may need to be upskilled to keep up with the evolving needs of the applications and industry. Any upgrades to the software, business processes, and workflows should be incorporated into the regular training program, preferably through a centre of excellence to help speed up adoption among new joiners and minimise business disruptions. 
Continuous development can also have a positive effect on morale and adoption. For example, suppose the solution is easy to use. In that case, a continuous development list can create the expectation of continual improvement and motivate people to think of ways to further increase the ROI. However, if the system is awkward and has unintuitive processes, adding enhancements will not compensate for the daily effort required to use it.

2. Train employees on new features

ERP systems and related applications require regular software updates and bug fixes, like how equipment and machines need regular maintenance to prevent breakdowns. For example, if you are running your organisation on the Microsoft cloud, you are required to take every third update. Working with an IT partner like HSO in the Early Access Program can help you mitigate risks and increase the benefits of change. Create a release schedule plan with your IT partner to ensure that software updates do not disrupt business. This should include a training plan to ensure that personnel is adequately trained in new features.

3. Governance planning

After implementation, various departments may request changes within the Business Applications for issues such as nuances, workflows, business processes, and application interfaces. However, these changes can only be implemented by consulting other departments, as they may disrupt their functionality. To streamline change requests and implement them without affecting other functionality or departmental functioning, it is important to have a governance plan outlining the process for adding new functionalities and modifying existing ones within the solution. The IT team or vendor responsible for implementing these changes should follow this governance structure to prioritise requests based on importance and provide traceability information for post-implementation changes.

4. Create a roadmap

The evolution of business software should be a vital part of the post-implementation plan. The client may want a business solution to adapt to their growth and changing operational structure as they expand their operations and scale up their business. A road map should be in place to address the ever-growing needs of the organisation. A trusted vendor plays a vital role in this process.

5. Revaluating customer requirement backlogs 

During software implementations, some requests may be postponed because they are not feasible. However, once the organisation is steady, these requests can be revisited and re-initiated to avoid losing them to competitors. In addition to addressing these delayed requests, the business can focus on other growth opportunities, such as using AI to improve data governance, quality, and lineage, automating manual processes, and incorporating insights and business intelligence into continuous development to understand the business better.

6. Set the organisation up for growth

To leverage the success of your Business Applications Program in a steady state, you can combine it with customer experience data to make your sellers more competitive. For example, start lead generation campaigns targeting net new customers, focus on improving your customer's experience and building cross-sell campaigns to current clients as well as enhancing your customer service processes. These efforts can help you provide a superior customer experience, manage and grow your customer base, and increase efficiency.

The right partner

One strategy to consider when planning for and executing requests for change (RfCs) for your Business Applications landscape is to work with a partner. Having a partner like HSO can help you build a comprehensive plan that considers your business's unique needs and goals and how your ERP system can continue to evolve and scale as your business grows and changes. In addition, it may be helpful to base your continuous improvement plan on the ITIL 4 framework, which emphasises the importance of adding value to everything you do. By following this framework, you can increase efficiency and reduce the time it takes to realise value from your ERP system. Exactly why HSO’s Global Managed Services (GMS)-teams always work with a methodology based on ITIL4 and Agile.

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