The 7 Essential Elements of Implementing a New ERP System

By April 26, 2021 No Comments

As a Government Contractor, the accuracy of your books is the lifeblood of your business. Your ability to get — and keep — lucrative government contracts is completely dependent on producing accurate forecasts and financial reports, making a rock-solid accounting system crucial to your success. However, what do you do when your company outgrows its accounting system?

Products like QuickBooks and Xero have earned an excellent reputation for good reason — they are excellent resources for small-to-medium-sized businesses. Although nearly any type of accounting software can be configured for DCAA-compliant reporting, many GovCons find that as their businesses grow their reporting needs and contract requirements become more complex. As a result, using their entry-level accounting software ends up costing more in time and effort than they save and increases the risk of mistakes and do-overs. (Learn more about the true cost of your offline workarounds here.)

As a result, many GovCons come to us in search of an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) like Costpoint, Unanet, and Jamis so that they have the business and accounting processes they need to satisfy the DCAA’s requirements.

So what does the implementation look like? We’ve broken it down into seven key areas that we use in most of our ERP system implementations.

The 7 Stages of ERP Implementation

Although each implementation is unique and tailored to our clients’ goals, in general, most implementations involve these seven stages.

Phase 1: Planning and Discovery

Although one of the shortest phases on the graphic above, discovery and planning truly starts with our first conversation.  It’s essential that we have a solid understanding of where you are now, some of your challenges, and your goals for the implementation so that we can create a custom implementation and training plan to maximize your benefits.

Phase 2: Design & Documentation

We begin designing and documenting a plan almost immediately, and this phase overlaps with both Phase 1 and Phase 3 so that we can hit the ground running to be sure that we’re serving you and your team as best as possible. We use the information gathered in Phase 1 to incorporate your wants and needs into your ERP system and map out the details of Phase 3.

Phase 3: File Mapping, Configuration & Training

Training is an essential part of the work we will do together because implementing a new

solution is more than just plugging in new software. It may also require some updates to current business processes so that your team is as efficient as possible. Putting data into your new system the right way gives us the ability of configuring your new system using an apples-to-apples format. As we work through the mapping file and system configuration, we are already starting to train your team.

Phase 4: Initial Data Conversion, Reconciliation & Training

Think of this phase as a test to ensure that a select set of data converts and reconciles accurately. As we do this, we’re continuing the training process so that your team has solid best practices, and they can see the entire process from start to finish.

Phase 5: Second Data Conversion, Reconciliation, Testing & Training

After we do the initial data conversion and identify any areas that need tweaking, we do a second test to ensure that everything is converting accurately, while continuing to train your team. In this phase, we make any final adjustments to the system to fine-tune it to your needs. This phase often contains a ‘dual entry’ session where we’ll enter full cycles of data to do a full comparison.

Phase 6: Final Conversion & Live Operations

Following success in Phases 4 and 5, now it’s the real deal. We move all data to the new system so that you can commence live operations as soon as the set up and final data conversion is complete.

Phase 7: Go Live

Now it’s go time! Immediately following the final conversion, your team is ready to hit the ground running. Because of the training they have received throughout the implementation, your team will be able to use your new ERP system with little assistance.

Post Implementation Assistance

Of course, it’s a new system, and no matter how complete the training, you and your team are bound to have a few questions. We include several weeks of post-implementation support in every proposal to cover those “what about this?” questions so that your organization achieves success.

The Most Essential Element of a Successful ERP Implementation

Ultimately, we support Government Contractors from pre-implementation to post- implementation to ensure you have the support you need to successfully migrate to a new ERP system. However, the single most important element to your success lies within your organization — a top-down commitment to training and your team. When leadership is willing to support the team with time, training, and organizational change management, success is much easier to attain (read more here!).

Are you ready to upgrade your accounting system? Download our workbook guide to help you understand! And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to let us know!

WJ Technologies is a leading provider of accounting software and services for Government Contractors. We tailor our services to meet your company’s needs offering accounting systems consulting, software evaluation and decision support, accounting services, staff augmentation, training, and government contracting services. Contact us to learn more.