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Phased Implementation: Is it Right for You?


If your company has made the decision to implement an ERP software solution or replace a legacy system, your business is on its way to enjoying the benefits of a comprehensive solution that allows you to stay ahead in today’s competitive environment. Now that you’ve made the selection about WHAT ERP software package you are implementing, you’ll need to choose HOW to go about implementing the solution in your organization. One option is a phased approach that embraces the idea that ERP implementation does not need to happen all at once, but can happen incrementally. Understanding the pros and cons of this type of rollout will help to determine if it can improve the odds for successful ERP implementation in your company.

What is a phased approach?

As one of two typical strategies utilized for the implementation of an ERP system solution, a phased approach is one in which functionalities of the system are introduced in a particular sequence, replacing old systems and methodologies gradually. This oftentimes means that a company begins with core functionality that is the highest priority, and then additional applications are added in phases over time. In contrast, an opposing implementation approach employs an all-at-once strategy in which the entire system and all applications “Go Live” at one time.

Weighing the pros and cons

With a phased approach, employees are able to handle changes in small increments over time – providing time for buy-in, training on the new software and the realization of benefits. Take into consideration that it also requires additional training for each phase of the implementation, so it is important to allocate time and resources to accomplish this. If utilizing a phased methodology, companies have the opportunity to focus undivided attention on each area as it is introduced and has less strain on the project team as they are able to plan ahead. If the company is looking for the movement to one system rather than continuing to use disparate software programs and manual processes, a full implementation with it’s quicker deployment, faster ROI and no interference with compliance regulations is likely the way to go.

What are the pros of a phased approach?

  • Allows for the identification of functionality and process improvements after “Go-Live”
  • Employees are able to handle changes in small increments over time – providing time for buy-in, training on the new software and the realization of benefits
  • It gives the opportunity for the testing and fixing of issues as they come up
  • If anything goes wrong, it does not affect the entire company, only the areas of the company in a particular phase
  • Provides more focused attention on each area as it is introduced
  • Less risky – it is easy to roll back if something is not functioning correctly or just not working if not implemented throughout the whole company
  • Less strain on the project team – allows for the ability to plan ahead and spread out resources

What are the cons of a phased approach?

  • Implementation takes longer
  • Costs are often higher due to the need for vendor staff availability for a longer period
  • ROI is delayed
  • Longer wait for the decommissioning of legacy systems
  • Employees must use a system that is constantly changing
  • Interference with compliance
  • Not necessarily conducive to smaller companies
  • Creates the perception of a “never-ending” project

What type of implementation is best?

The implementation strategy that is best for your company depends on your business goals, strategies and needs. This may include a hybrid approach in which critical functionality is implemented within core ERP applications, followed by desirable features in a phased implementation down the line. Exploring all of your options helps your company determine what will work best for your business interests.

ProcessPro’s Implementation Services Team can help guide your company through the implementation process. Contact us today for a personalized consultation regarding our proven implementation methodology that delivers the shortest path to ROI.

Tags: Implementing ERP