Implementing new technology can seem daunting at first. There are many things to consider, prepare for, and execute on, to ensure the system you are implementing will be successful. Whether it’s connecting the front and back office on a single platform, like Salesforce, or simply implementing a new Cloud ERP system to move away from inefficient paper based processes and spreadsheets, you’ll need some sage advice on where to begin.
With 15+ years of Salesforce ISV and OEM partner experience building cloud ERP applications on AppExchange, at Ascent Solutions we’ve seen every type of customer need related to inventory management. We have also assembled a wide range of best-in-class Salesforce implementation partners to ensure our customers are successful with project rollouts. To get you started on the right path, here are five Salesforce ERP implementation tips for your reading pleasure:
Tip 1: Leverage a Committee for Internal Alignment
Every department has unique needs to address when switching to a new technology system, especially a front and back office solution of Salesforce ERP + CRM. An internal committee gives the company a way to align on a cross-departmental strategy, decide how the software is selected, implemented and remains properly resourced, after the project goes live. The committee should be composed of key personnel from each department who fully understand how the system will break down old silos and enable more cross functional collaboration.
Tip 2: Define and Gather Front + Back Office Requirements
The requirements gathering stage to determine project scope often takes the most time and energy for a company to properly address. Requirements must be defined, agreed upon, evaluated and documented. Numerous stakeholder interviews must be completed to validate assumptions, identify gaps, and reduce project risk of failure (e.g. going over budget, timeline, or both). If you’re unsure where to start, which requirements to explore, or simply want a template to begin with as a starting point, consider working with a Salesforce ERP certified consulting partner that’s gone through this process hundreds of times with other Salesforce customers. Ideally, find a consultant with expertise in your industry and technology need area (i.e. ERP + CRM). For example, WIN Digital Solutions, an Ascent and Salesforce Certified Partner, specializes in manufacturing, distribution, and services (professional, industrial) for small and medium (SMB) businesses.
Tip 3: Consider External Help Like Salesforce Certified Consulting Partners
Like most things in life, when something seems massive and overwhelming, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks is a key ingredient for getting started and long term success. Working with a Salesforce certified consultant with a methodology is a good option to consider at this phase. Especially if your team doesn’t have the experience implementing Salesforce, or a predefined process that considers various planning models (top down, bottom up, etc.). The primary goal at this stage is to develop a realistic plan that breaks down the project into manageable goals. This will help your team keep everything in scope and a greater opportunity to stay on budget and timeline.
Tip 4: Determine Project Scope and Staffing Resources
Successful Salesforce implementations ALWAYS have the proper team in place. This can be a mix of internal and external resources and doesn’t need to be a large team but determining the correct implementation group is critical. From executive champions to a dedicated project manager, Salesforce admin, and others, each role on the project team is critical for short AND long term success. Implementing Salesforce is not a part time job—especially during the strategy/planning and implementation phases. Each business stakeholder needs to manage communications internally and relay information to the technology provider externally, which ensures the project is more likely to stay on schedule and at budget. This is another area where a 3rd party consultant can provide objective input on which stakeholders should be included. Aethon Consulting is an Ascent and Salesforce Certified partner that began as a Salesforce customer and enjoyed the technology so much they created a Salesforce consulting business to help more customers succeed.
Tip 5: Solidify ERP / Back Office Business Processes
Technology providers have extensive knowledge about how to use their system, especially when they are developed on a single platform like Salesforce. However, you are the expert of your business, live it daily, and have ideas about what your company needs to take the business to the next level. Therefore, it’s important for you to clearly think about, evaluate, and define your business process needs. Before you start the implementation process, sit down and focus on areas of your business that have impactful pain points, could use process improvement, and where technology provides a solution to help you scale through better operations, an improved customer experience, and new revenue opportunities.
With regards to connecting the front and back office for Salesforce ERP + CRM, according to Ascent and Salesforce Certified Partner Coacto, there are five critical steps to selecting the proper cloud ERP system.
If not, as Bill Gates once said:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”