Josh Hoagland, Vice President
Jan 17, 2017
We can all use a little guidance now and then, especially when it comes to ERP best practices. Consider the following tips to promote a culture of engagement and reduce stress along the way.
Phone a Friend
Your ERP vendor can provide you with the names of institutions similar in size and complexity. Open lines of communication throughout the Higher Education community will help you consider new solutions to old problems and may save you from suffering through similar trials and tribulations.
Consider asking these questions of peers at other institutions:
- Have you modified your systems and if so, how?
- Have you lived through a legacy to ERP migration? What worked and what didn’t?
- Have you lost any tools when transitioning from a legacy to ERP system? If so, how has this affected your workflow?
- What workarounds have you created for utilizing your ERP with standard, out-of-the-box usage?
You might even consider more specific questions like these:
- What processes do you have in place when role-based access permissions need to change?
- Do you have defined standards in place for adopted middleware?
- How do you deal with passwords and password management?
- What data standards have you applied?
The Gold Standard
If you don’t already have defined data standards, consider their importance. A cross-functional committee can help you emphasize clean data while considering different departments’ needs. Once implemented, evaluate to ensure data is stored in proper fields, tables, and databases and that records are not missing, incorrect, or duplicated. Revisit any cumbersome nuances discovered and re-train, when needed.
Crystal Clear Persuasion
Ensure everyone understands what they need to do and where they need to do it. For example, be sure to clearly define new processes and structure such as new budget approval procedures, centralized locations of documentation, and electronic form use versus paper use. If you’re met with resistance to said changes, consider providing examples on how the new and improved way will help everyone access accurate information faster and improve workflow.
Teach a Man to Fish
We all know the importance of education, so remove gaps in knowledge by providing ERP training and mentorship at all levels. Using our examples above, once you’ve defined the process and documented it, spend the time and resources teaching the preferred formats. Be sure to allow the time it takes for people to get comfortable with new guidelines, allow room for error, and consider refresher courses or inter-departmental training as well.
We talked about failing to put it in writing in our ERP Worst Practices blog posting. Good documentation is so important, we’re really driving this point home. If your ERP system has been or will be customized, be sure to document all modifications. As ERP system upgrades are made and versions come and go, you’ll be glad you took the time to document all the specific nuances.
Remember, practice makes pattern, not perfection. Adopting these best practices may benefit you in more ways than one but allow time for change to settle in.