The 7 Steps to a Successful ERP Implementation

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system integrates various business management functions, ranging from inventory and order management to accounting, human resources, customer support, and beyond. For modern businesses, an ERP system is not just a luxury—it’s a necessity. It offers a comprehensive, real-time view of core business processes. The systems track business resources—cash, raw materials, production capacity—and the status of business commitments: orders, purchase orders, and payroll. Despite the critical function ERPs serve, many organizations experience significant challenges during their implementation. Statistics reveal a concerning truth: high failure rates plague ERP implementations. This stark reality underlines the importance of adhering to a structured approach to maximize the likelihood of success.

Key Takeaway:

A successful ERP implementation is not accidental; it requires meticulous planning and execution. To that end, we explore the 7 steps that are essential for organizations to consider:

  • Communicate a Clear Vision, Benefits, and ROI Expectations
  • Involve Management and Employees in Key Decisions and Activities
  • Thoroughly Plan the Implementation Strategy and Timeline
  • Conduct Rigorous Testing and Quality Assurance
  • Provide Ongoing Training and Support for Users
  • Go-Live Preparation and Transition
  • Monitor Performance and Continuously Improve

By following these steps diligently, organizations can enhance their operational efficiency and financial performance while transforming experiences for all stakeholders involved. Sama Consulting’s expertise in Infor suite of products demonstrates how custom solutions can empower retail businesses through such critical transformations. Equally important is the integration and automation aspect where Infor ION leads the way in revolutionizing business processes—a pivotal part of any ERP journey.

Step 1: Communicate a Clear Vision, Benefits, and ROI Expectations

For an ERP implementation to be successful, stakeholders must rally behind a clear vision. This vision articulates the strategic goals of the project and serves as a North Star for all decision-making. Consider General Electric’s ERP implementation: their vision focused on unifying diverse business units under one system to enhance collaboration and efficiency. The clarity of this objective empowered their teams to push through challenges, knowing that every step aligned with a greater purpose.Identifying and communicating the specific benefits of the ERP system is equally critical:

  • Enhanced data accuracy
  • Streamlined processes
  • Improved customer satisfaction

These benefits should be tailored to address specific organizational needs. For instance, an equipment business may focus on how an ERP can optimize sales for extra efficiency and customer satisfaction—factors that directly contribute to their growth. Sama Consulting which offers expertise in Infor suite of products specifically designed to optimize sales for extra efficiency and customer satisfaction in heavy equipment businesses.

Setting realistic ROI expectations is another cornerstone. It involves breaking down the financial benefits into quantifiable targets such as cost savings, revenue growth, or productivity gains. Establish these metrics early on to measure progress against initial investment costs.

Need help with your Infor LN implementation project?

Get in touch with us - we are 100% focussed on Infor.

Step 2: Involve Management and Employees in Key Decisions and Activities

Management Involvement

  • Top management plays a pivotal role in steering the ERP implementation toward success. Their involvement is not merely supportive; they act as champions of the project, setting the tone for change and demonstrating commitment.
  • A hallmark of effective leadership during this transformative process is leading by example. When senior executives actively use the new ERP system, it sends a powerful message about its importance and value to the organization.

Employee Engagement

  • Employee participation is critical at each stage of the ERP journey. Engaging staff during system configuration helps tailor the system to actual work practices and encourages buy-in.
  • The testing phase benefits greatly from employee involvement. They can provide practical insights into how well the system performs under real-world conditions.

Cross-functional Collaboration

  • Successful adoption of an ERP system hinges on seamless collaboration across different departments. Establishing cross-functional teams can promote understanding and optimize workflow integration.
  • Regular meetings and communication channels between these teams ensure concerns are addressed promptly, fostering a cooperative environment.

Step 3: Thoroughly Plan the Implementation Strategy and Timeline

A strong implementation strategy becomes the blueprint for navigating the complexities of ERP deployment. This strategy must be comprehensive, detailing every phase from kickoff to go-live. The timeline planning is equally important, as it sets achievable deadlines and ensures that all stakeholders are working together.

Core Elements of an Implementation Strategy:

  • Data Migration: Safeguarding data integrity while transferring from old systems.
  • System Integration: Seamlessly connecting the ERP with existing applications.
  • Change Management: Preparing the workforce for new processes and technologies.

Crafting a Realistic Timeline:

  • Establish clear milestones that reflect both major deliverables and nuanced tasks.
  • Integrate buffer periods to absorb unforeseen delays without derailing overall progress.

Step 4: Conduct Rigorous Testing and Quality Assurance

The success of an ERP implementation heavily depends on meticulous testing and quality assurance procedures. Identifying and resolving issues before the system goes live is essential to avoid disruptions that can affect business operations.

Key Aspects of Comprehensive Testing:

  • Functionality Testing: Ensures the ERP software performs its intended functions correctly. This involves testing all features for compliance with specified requirements.
  • Performance Testing: Assesses the system’s stability and responsiveness under various loads. It’s vital to ensure that the system can handle the expected transaction volumes without lagging or crashing.
  • Security Testing: Verifies that the system is safeguarded against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats. This is crucial for protecting sensitive business data.

Maintaining Data Accuracy and Integrity:

  • Validation processes must be thorough, confirming that data is accurately migrated from old systems and consistently maintained throughout operations.

Step 5: Provide Ongoing Training and Support for Users

Training and user support are critical components in making sure a new ERP system works well. By creating an environment where learning never stops, companies can make sure that users know how to use the ERP solution to its fullest potential. Tailored training programs cater to varying skill sets and learning preferences within the workforce.

  • Customized Training Programs: Implement comprehensive training modules that range from webinars to hands-on workshops, ensuring inclusivity for both tech-savvy employees and those less comfortable with digital change.
  • E-Learning Platforms: Utilize online learning management systems (LMS) that allow users to learn at their own pace and provide a repository of resources for future reference.
  • On-the-Job Coaching: Pair novices with more experienced users who can offer guidance and reinforce best practices within the context of daily tasks.
  • Help Desks and User Groups: Establish dedicated channels for immediate assistance, including IT help desks, user forums, and internal support groups to address queries and challenges promptly.

Step 6: Go-Live Preparation and Transition

Before an ERP system can fully come to life, meticulous go-live preparation is paramount. This phase is the culmination of months of planning, design, and testing, and its success hinges on a set of key activities:

Go-Live Preparation Activities

  • Data Cleansing: Prior to go-live, it’s essential to clean up existing data. This means removing inaccuracies, duplicates, and obsolete information to ensure the new system operates with the highest level of data integrity.
  • End-User Readiness Assessment: Assessing the preparedness of end-users ensures that everyone is equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate the new system efficiently from day one.

The transition phase marks a critical juncture where a well-conceived cutover plan plays a central role. This plan outlines every step needed to migrate from the old systems to the new ERP platform while minimizing disruptions to ongoing business operations. Key components include:

Transition Phase Components

  • Final Data Migration: Securely transferring final batches of data after thorough validation.
  • System Testing: Conducting final checks to confirm all system components are functioning seamlessly together.
  • User Training Completion: Ensuring that all users have completed their training sessions and are confident in using the new system.

Step 7: Monitor Performance and Continuously Improve

After the excitement of a successful go-live event, performance monitoring and continuous improvement become crucial in unlocking the full potential of an ERP system. The focus shifts to making sure that the system delivers on its promises and adjusts to changing business needs.

Key Metrics for Post-Implementation Tracking

  • System Uptime and Response Times: Measures how reliable and fast the system is.
  • User Adoption Rates: Shows how well employees are using the new system.
  • Business Process Efficiency: Assesses improvements in workflow, comparing before and after ERP metrics.
  • Customer Satisfaction Levels: Reflects how changes in business processes impact the experience of end customers.

Feedback Loops for Enhancement Suggestions

A strong way to gather user feedback is essential. Users who are directly involved in day-to-day operations often have valuable insights into how the system is performing and possible improvements.

  • Regular User Surveys: Allow users to share their thoughts on how the system works and suggest ways to make it better.
  • Helpdesk Analytics: Identify recurring problems and areas where users need more help or training.

System Audits for Optimization

Regular checks are necessary to find inefficiencies or gaps between what the ERP system can do and what the business needs it to do.

  • Data Accuracy Checks: Make sure that the information in the ERP is accurate and reliable.
  • Workflow Analysis: Evaluate if current workflows match with the best way to do business.
  • Security Assessments: Confirm that data protection measures are up-to-date and working well.


Adopting a structured approach, like the seven critical steps mentioned above, greatly increases the chances of a successful ERP implementation. These best practices act as valuable markers to navigate the complexities of integrating an ERP system into your business operations.

  • Understand the significance of each step as a building block that contributes to a strong and efficient ERP deployment.
  • Use these insights wisely, customizing them to fit your organizational context in order to address specific needs and overcome unique challenges.
  • Recognize that while this framework is comprehensive, it’s important to remain flexible and adaptable—your implementation journey should be just as individualized as your business.

By staying true to these principles, companies can turn their ERP implementation from an overwhelming task into an opportunity for innovation and enhancement.

Need help with your Infor LN implementation project?

Get in touch with us - we are 100% focussed on Infor.