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Why You Need to Implement 3rd Party Software at the Same Time as your ERP or CMMS.

Posted under Blog by Kristin Smith, Content Marketing Specialist

Software has proven to be an invaluable asset to almost every industry. Generally, you can find a software solution to resolve almost every business issue that may arise.

Some software installations are as simple as downloading a wizard and hitting ‘install’. Others, however, are significantly more complex and require more time, resources and infrastructure. Implementations of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, as well as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) both, are the latter.

Generally, your organization has purchased an ERP or EAM/CMMS solution to better their processes, data management, department communications and more. The benefits of these software’s are only realized when your implementation is successful, however.

Implementing a new software solution carries with it a number of challenges. The process can be overwhelming, confusing and long. Further issues arise when organizations begin to realize that their new solution might not meet every one of their needs and additional solutions are required.

Often, maintenance teams find their needs extend beyond what an ERP or EAM/CMMS system can provide. They need detailed solutions built specifically for the unique needs of the maintenance industry. However, they find themselves stuck in limbo waiting for their ERP or EAM/CMMS to be implemented before their organization will allow another software install. This conundrum can be detrimental for the overall success of a maintenance organization and in turn the overall success of the entire organization.   

Organizations need to examine the needs of their maintenance departments and act accordingly. This means implementing a maintenance specific solution at the same time as their ERP or EAM/CMMS system in order to prevent wasted time, money and resources, and to encourage end-user adoption of their new software systems and accompanying processes.

No ERP or CMMS/EAM can do everything

Fortune 1000 companies often employ an ERP solution, such as Oracle or SAP, to handle their overall business processes and to connect their departments. An ERP is meant to be a single source of truth, where all necessary business information is held. It is an invaluable resource for organizations to have. However, an ERP is designed to be an overarching solution, and as a result, does not cover department specific or unique needs. As Paul Hamerman, VP and Principle Analyst, Forrester Research, says

“There’s no ERP system that’s going to do everything a company needs to do.”

As a member of the maintenance industry, you know that the needs of a maintenance organization are unique in many manners. This includes their software needs. Because an ERP system cannot do everything to meet these unique needs, maintenance organizations often turn to an EAM solution or a CMMS to supplement their ERP. EAM and CMMS systems are both designed to support the maintenance process. However, they lack in depth functionality required to support specific sections of the work management process.

Your company has likely chosen to purchase and implement an ERP or EAM/CMMS system to better the organization and your overall maintenance processes. The existing gaps, however, create a challenge for organizations to overcome.

These gaps in the ERP or EAM/CMMS impinges on the potential success of the tool. Ignoring the gaps or waiting to implement systems to fill these gaps until after the ERP or EAM/CMMS is implemented results in wasted resources, time and money and more importantly, impacts the successful adoption of your new system(s).

It is essential to the success of your ERP or EAM/CMMS implementation and adoption that you identify these gaps and develop an action plan to fill them.

Implementations are disruptive and challenging

Implementing a major software, like an ERP or EAM/CMMS, can be an extremely disruptive, time-consuming, and data-intensive process.

The average implementation for an ERP or EAM/CMMS system can vary. However, it is not uncommon for implementations to last more than a year. It is a major time commitment for all involved. Perhaps one of the most challenging parts of a lengthy implementation is that organizations still need to conduct business as usual on a daily basis, while also dedicating resources to implementation tasks such as installation, process document updates, data review, and more. The combination of implementation tasks and continuing the usual day to day requires time, coordination, cooperation and a considerable amount of work. Challenges like this can impinge on the success of the overall implementation and also have the potential to hurt regular work goals.

The strain on resources, as well as the time commitment involved with an implementation, make it difficult to justify going again once one is complete. It is reasonable to consider completing multiple implementations at the same time in order to prevent strain on the company in the future.

User Adoption is Critical

Implementing an ERP or EAM/CMMS system poses a significant investment in time, money and resources for an organization. It is critical for the implementation to go smoothly and for the overall organization to embrace the new systems. User adoption is vital to ensure a return on investment.

User adoption is not easy, however. Implementing new software includes process changes that will require advanced user training and change management procedures. Updating processes to include new software requires users to not only be trained on the new software but also on how the new processes affect their jobs.

When the new software has gaps, does not do everything the end-user needs it to or does not improve processes in the desired manner, it poses additional challenges for user adoption. Not to mention that user training takes time and more resources.

If your organization currently plans to implement an ERP or EAM/CMMS and then fill the existing gaps at a later time, they are throwing away precious time, resources and money on process changes and training that will just need to be updated in a years time. It is more logical and sustainable to complete multiple implementations once, to ensure end-user adoption is at its highest and new processes are correct the first time around.

Overall

Implementations are challenging. When you examine the gaps that exist in ERP and EAM/CMMS systems, in combination with the difficulties that come from the length of time and resources required for a major implementation and take into consideration that your organization still needs to operate at their usual standard, it is only logical to implement both your ERP or EAM/CMMS and a maintenance specific solution simultaneously.

There is no doubt that implementing more than one software concurrently will be a large amount of work. However, by implementing your ERP or EAM/CMMS system at the same time as a maintenance specific solution, like the VIZIYA WorkAlign® Suite, your organization will be preventing wasted time and resources, while also helping to ensure the overall success of your ERP or EAM/CMMS purchase.

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