Building a Business Case for
an ERP Implementation

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Building a Business Case for an ERP Implementation

Digital transformation has created a world in which companies have many options to choose from when it comes to redesigning business processes with the help of an advanced, next-generation ERP solution.  

Before opting for one, though, numerous factors have to be taken into consideration. This blog takes a look at the different phases of building a business case for an ERP implementation while using Dynamics 365 as an example.  

Executive summary 

The executive summary represents an overview of your business case, naming the main challenges faced by your organization, as well as the means you intend to use to address them.  

Problem statement 

The problem statement section gives an answer to why a certain proposal is being made, as well as what an organization is going to achieve by going through with it. 

Problem statements are meant to cover different pain points by defining the context of your initiative. For example, if you’re looking at a Dynamics 365 implementation, the context might be that your business isn’t connected to the Cloud and can’t keep up with the newest technological advances any more. 

This can cause many problems in the form of lessened ROI, obsolete production methods, weaker customer engagement etc. All of these need to be thought through, discussed and documented in your business case, as the next step would be to outline the possible consequences of not addressing these issues.  

After defining the problems your organization is facing, you can present the needs behind them and what solutions your business case will use to address them.  

Objectives 

Dynamics 365 offers a versatile set of answers to numerous questions. Whether your objective is to improve business intelligence, align Sales and Marketing, or improve the overall efficiency of your ops and build an intelligent manufacturing platform, it’s got the right tools to do it. 

Whatever you define as your objectives, you need to do it in a way which allows for quantifiable, tangible, and easily measurable results to be analyzed and acted upon. Your company’s plans and subsequent ERP implementations are going to matter only if there is a standardized way of tracking key metrics related to the success of your business. Objectives should also be time-bound to ensure your company is following through on its initiatives. 

Proposed solution 

This part of the business case should provide an overview of the solution you’ve chosen, explain how it works, what its capabilities are and why you’re choosing to go with it.

Organizations should describe how specific features of a chosen ERP solution – for example, Dynamics 365 – can solve challenges listed in the problem statement in order to execute a certain business strategy.  

A mission statement and solution map point out exactly how a new ERP can contribute to the achievement of your organization’s goals. 

What about the alternatives? 

Before making a decision, the executive board in your organization needs to become acquainted with the alternatives to your proposed ERP solution. 

In this part of the business case, you should provide an overview of the benefits of your suggestion relative to other solutions on the market. 

In the case of Dynamics 365, its main advantages over other systems can be found in its flexibility, extensibility, familiarity, and integration levels. It offers features capable of operating globally, on a multi-entity level, and works with Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform. 

To learn more about upgrading to D365, click here. You can also read our white paper about selecting the best system to grow your business. 

Constraints and risks 

The constraints and risks section of your business case should outline the different factors which could harm your implementation.  

These could be technology or workforce-related. It’s important for the implementation to be completed on time, as breaking through deadlines could cause additional costs and downtime. 

Here are a few of our white papers detailing the risks related to ERP implementations: 

Ineffective Change Management and ERP Implementations 

Reducing The Risk of ERP Implementations 

The Security Challenges (and Solutions) to Enterprise Mobility 

ERP and The Risk of Being Outdated 

Cost analysis 

Claiming that business is not just about the numbers is very true, but a business case for an ERP implementation still needs to be based on facts. 

In the cost analysis section, you need to illustrate how switching to Dynamics 365 will directly impact your ROI. Naturally, you won’t be able to exactly calculate all the different factors which contribute to profit margins due to the nature of business, but you’ll still want to try and forecast them using as much data as possible.  

Internal, as well as external sources of information can be used to determine what an ERP implementation should look like cost-wise. Nucleus Research has recently published a report claiming Dynamics 365 delivers $16.97 for every dollar you spend on it. 

You’ll also need to estimate how much not having a new system in place can cost your business. This can be done by demonstrating examples of potential missed opportunities, process inefficiencies and obsolete technologies which can hurt your ROI. 

You’ll have a higher chance of building a strong case if you manage to quantify the cost of your biggest challenge – whether it’s siloed data, overly complex business processes, lack of customer engagement or flexibility, you’ll need to translate it into tangible metrics.  

Another thing you have to take into consideration is the fact you won’t get a return overnight. ERP implementations can produce immediate qualitative benefits, but can take months and sometimes years for you to break even. Dynamics 365 helps in this regard, as its familiar workspaces require less training to get used to in comparison to other systems.

When calculating costs, you’ll most likely have to factor in elements such as software licenses, implementation costs, 3rd party license fees (if there are any), training costs, customization fees, storage costs etc. One clear benefit of Dynamics 365 is that you’ll spend less resources as a result of its cloud infrastructure

Implementation plan 

Decision-makers need to have a clear idea of how and when the various stages of an ERP implementation are going to take place. After selecting a methodology, your organization should make sure a proper plan is in place – one with precisely defined timelines and ETAs for the various stages of a project.  

Implementing software can prove highly disruptive, so you’ll need to make sure you know exactly how long the roll-out will last and what its effects on your business processes will be. 

This becomes much easier once you find the right implementation partner. With Merit Solutions, your transformation is tailor-made to your way of operating and existing infrastructure. A successfully executed implementation optimizes processes, eliminates waste, improves profitability and customer satisfaction and, most importantly, establishes a strong foundation for future improvements. To read more about the benefits of our Business Transformation Mapping, click here

After devising a fundamentally sound implementation plan, you’ll need to make sure it’s set up in a way that allows results to be tracked through KPIs. 

Whatever you decide to define as your key goals, you should make sure they are achievable and try to evaluate your efforts according to them. If you need a place to start, here’s our rundown of the manufacturing metrics you need to look out for in your operations. 

Project governance 

In order to avoid a failed ERP implementation, accountability is crucial. In this part of the ERP business case, you should clearly define roles and assign responsibilities. Decision-makers need to sign off on everything related to the project, and a hierarchy should be established to make sure everyone reports to the right person during the roll-out. 

Conclusion 

In this part, you’ll be reiterating your key challenges and how you expect Dynamics 365 to solve them. With digital transformation moving at a blinding pace, it’s imperative to stress the urgency of finishing action items on time. 

It’s all about executing from here on out – making the best of an ERP implementation requires a structured approach. With an experienced implementation partner like Merit Solutions to rely on, you can make a strong business case for implementing an ERP solution. 

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