Successfully managing the migration from spreadsheets to ERP solutions

April 11, 2017
April 11, 2017 TM Group

Successfully managing the migration from spreadsheets to ERP solutions

ERP solutions help companies avoid the inefficiencies of spreadsheets.

ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials, GP, NAV and SL allow businesses to centralize operations, increase visibility into the business on many levels and utilize a single repository for many different dimensions of business data. When companies select a  great ERP partner, the right software solution and prepare their staff for what is always a major transition, they succeed.

The changeover to ERP is an especially important shift for organizations that rely on spreadsheets to manage operational data. Because the ERP platform will replace many ad hoc spreadsheets and automate many processes that were once wholly or partially dependent on input from staff, it’s critical that business leaders as well as employees who frequently use spreadsheets have a firm understanding of the process. Here’s a look at some considerations spreadsheet-heavy organizations need to take into account to increase the odds of a successful ERP implementation:

Understanding the reductions and changes in workflows and processes
As the ERP Software Blog pointed out, one of the major disadvantages of a spreadsheet-dependent organization is
the lack of integration between the tables used by various parts of the organization. Other issues, such as unintentional or even necessary duplication of information and the need to reconcile differences between spreadsheets from different areas of the company, can also occur. There are two major concerns ERP solutions resolve in this respect: They unify informational flows, avoiding manual duplication issues, and they ensure a high level of integration.

For staff who spend many hours a week working with these spreadsheets, the shift to ERP can be a jarring one. Company and departmental leaders need to have a firm handle on what the changeover to ERP means and help staff successfully prepare for and adapt to the transition. Working with a top-flight ERP partner gives businesses the support they need to plan for this important switch and provide necessary training and education to affected staff.

Determining what data is and isn’t needed
Companies using spreadsheets to manage their business data have some choices to make when it comes to data retention and deciding what is and isn’t truly needed before the conversion to using ERP solutions. Many businesses retain some data that isn’t necessary, or is only needed because the spreadsheet-based approach to recording and accounting for data is inefficient and prone to blind spots and the need for unnecessary duplication. There are also considerations in terms of how much data from the past is needed for a certain operation.

ERP News suggested companies make decisions early on about what kinds and what amount of data will be needed in a new ERP solution. In some applications, a wealth of historical data is valuable to developing strong insight and should be ported over to the solution. In a significant number of others, however, there is a cutoff point that can be selected, saving time and effort during implementation and bringing the project to fruition sooner.

Finding a dependable partner
The success or failure of ERP implementations often hinges on the partner selected by an organization. Companies that are used to working with spreadsheets are no exception, and need to seek out the right ERP partner to achieve the highest degree of success possible. An experienced and knowledgeable partner will help businesses address a number of considerations, from determining how much data to carry into the new solution to aiding in training for staff. Well-established partners also maintain lines of communication and help businesses continue to grow with their new ERP platform after the implementation ends, smoothing potential bumps in the road and helping the company move more confidently toward success.

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