ERP implementation lessons learned
The fact that Sage X3 is a truly global ERP system doesn’t automatically guarantee a successful international deployment. In this blog, we share some of the ERP implementation lessons we’ve learned during Inixion’s global Sage X3 projects.
An international Sage X3 ERP project with multiple local sites which need to feed into a single global instance can be very complicated. It requires co-ordination of resources, timelines and data across multiple countries and time zones during the implementation and it’s therefore vitally important that goals for the international deployment are set from the beginning. There are however some other points to be considered to make international implementation successful. Please find some of those points below, based on our experiences of implementing Sage X3 across 5 continents.
Local versus global
Ignore local conditions at your peril. Whilst Sage X3 can manage local business requirements and your local sites will be asked to work within its scope, cultural differences ‘on the ground’ will need to be considered. These can include work ethic, working hours, hierarchy and many other subtle or obvious differences. You need to make sure that your Sage X3 implementation partner can adapt to local cultural differences, as their ability to deal with these is an essential part of the success of the implementation.
Global versus localised processes. Going from multiple local systems to global management of a single global instance of the ERP or Business Management system can be a painful experience for the local organisations, irrespective of software vendor, unless carefully managed.
The local team will often cite – “this is the way we’ve always done it” – so communication of how the new, global, processes are going to work is essential. However, the local offices understand their local regulations and policies best, so the implementation team need to be flexible enough to allow adaption of the processes to suit local circumstances. Your implementation partner plays a vital role in advising how processes can be adapted without creating too much ‘mix and match’, thus diluting the benefits of a global system.
Local key users and ownership. It is essential to appoint local key users who understand their local business and statutory requirements and are involved in the implementation process to deliver the benefit of their knowledge. Going forward these users should also be the first point of call for local end users regarding any support issues. They can facilitate the process with the global support team, as they have a better understanding of local issues and problems. Furthermore, key users can play an important part in adoption of the software and changes and they can also help to expedite any future changes the business may need to make to the system, which impacts the local business.
A strong project team can help to drive ownership. By identifying local key business champions to help drive the project in specific business areas and ensuring each local business has an internal point of contact going forward, buy-in from all areas of the global organisation can be cultivated.
Change management. The success of a system depends on the software and processes being used as designed without deviations into spreadsheets or legacy software by its users. When a new Sage X3 ERP system has been selected for global rollout, it is important to devise an internal change management plan for all business units to ensure local buy-in. In the context of adoption this plan may include ongoing communication of scope, purpose and progress – highlighting benefits (both global and local) of project, employee education and training; as well as support arrangements after go-live.
Collaboration and inclusion. Your Sage X3 implementation partner can play an important part in making local offices feel part of the process, by being collaborative and inclusive from day one. They can relay local concerns and issues back to the project team and ensure that local teams feel their local requirements are being considered in the overall plan. By being open, communicating changes and celebrating successes wherever possible you can drive a culture of collaboration and inclusion, encouraging a successful global Sage X3 implementation.
Implementation approach. The size and complexity of a global organisation will have a part to play in defining whether a Big Bang or Phased implementation approach is adopted. Every ERP implementation will introduce greater risk and pressure in an organisation during and shortly after the project, as (key) employees need to be involved in the project on top of their day-to-day work, new processes are introduced, users need to get used to the new system and potentially a different way of working.
For each project business risk must be assessed; that business risk may be mitigated by adopting a Phased Implementation, particularly for large multi-company organisations, but that approach can also introduce potential risks. Project lead times may be longer, and a business may start to feel in a constant state of flux as new processes keep being rolled out; this may also increase risk of a successful adoption as employees suffer “change fatigue”.
If a “Big Bang” approach, all sites/companies/countries going live at the same time, is chosen, then it is even more important, potentially vital, that a completely dedicated project team is appointed, with team-members who can solely concentrate on the implementation, in order to keep to deadlines.
Master data management. Implementing a Sage X3 ERP system into a global organisation provides the opportunity to centralise and streamline master data management; providing greater accuracy, with all units working from one common data set. However, many organisations still need input from the local business units to ensure collaboration and understanding in respect of the global common data sets. A Sage X3 implementation partner with in-depth system and security experience will be able to assist businesses in this process and in ensuring common data is fully understood and managed between sites and companies throughout the organisation.
The importance of a Sage X3 partner with global experience
The right Sage X3 partner with demonstrable skills in international implementation should be an important consideration. Over 90% of Inixion’s Sage X3 customers have international business requirements, ranging from multi-currency to multiple implementations across the globe. Inixion has implemented Sage X3 in many countries across 5 continents and assisted other Sage partners from around the world.
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