Building a Solid ERP Strategy

Velosio breaks down why a solid ERP implementation strategy is critical for maximizing investments and the process of creating an ERP strategy.

Ben Bolte

Sales Director at Velosio

Follow Me:

Table of Content

    It takes a rock-solid ERP strategy to maximize the value of this high-stakes investment. 

    A strong ERP strategy not only ensures a smooth implementation, it also enhances operational efficiency, improves decision-making, and drives growth. Unfortunately — building such a strategy is neither easy nor intuitive. 

    This process involves a ton of careful planning, strong, cross-functional project teams, targeted feedback, and an org-wide commitment to high-speed change. 

    While the specifics of your strategy should be unique to your business and its customers, successful projects tend to have a few important things in common. In this article, we’ll look at the key ingredients for building an ERP strategy that has real staying power.

    Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365

    1. Define & Document ERP Objectives

    ERP strategies must be rooted in reality. Meaning — they must be informed by real end-user needs and proven business cases.

    Deloitte experts recommend building from a business-led vision. This allows you to embrace a capability-focused strategy that aligns all projects around a unified vision and shared objectives.

    A business-case-first approach allows orgs to build a strategy around jobs that need to be done. Here, it’s not about individual tools or specific processes. It’s about finding the best solution for each job. This approach also enables  org-wide transformation and continuous process optimization. Here are some key steps you’ll want to include here:

    Audit Existing Systems & Processes

    You’ll want to put together a cross-functional discovery team to figure out what, exactly, you want your ERP to do. Their job is to review existing business processes, workflows, and systems to identify inefficiencies, redundancies, or gaps. 

    Here, the main goal is figuring out where things stand. Have your team focus on finding answers the following questions:

    • Is your current system capable of meeting goals?
    • How does it perform in different contexts?
    • How does it perform under different conditions?
    • Where do gaps exist and how do they impact different stakeholders? 

    Gather Feedback from Stakeholders 

    Capture feedback from end-users across all departments to understand individual needs and challenges.

    Set Specific, Measurable Goals

    Define what “success” looks like for your ERP project. What goals do you have for your ERP project overall? Boosting team productivity? Becoming a more “data-driven” org? Driving internal innovation at-scale? 

    You’ll also want to define goals for each functional area supported by the ERP. So – finance, supply chain, sales, HR, customer service, and so on.

    Align with Business Strategy

    Next, you’ll want to make sure each of those goals aligns with the high-level objectives in your business strategy. What big-picture objectives are outlined in your business strategy?

    How do ERP goals support the broader vision, future plans? For example, how might the ERP help you enter new markets, build out an acquisition strategy, grow revenue by X%, scale operations, etc.?

    How do function-specific goals fit into the bigger picture? For example, how will helping finance improve forecasting help your org hit growth targets faster? How can streamlining the sales process improve short-term cash flow?

    What else can you do when sales is bringing in more cash on a monthly basis? Maybe you’ll invest in updating your project management software to speed up the pre-sales process. Or — to more reliably meet SLA requirements. Maybe you’ll work on improving the customer service function to deliver better experiences throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

    The point is, everything is connected, and your ERP strategy needs to reflect that reality. 

    2. Make the Business Case

    No matter what you have in mind for your ERP project, your plans will demand a large share of your organization’s time, money, and available resources. And as such, it’s crucial to justify the need for this investment by demonstrating the potential impact it can have on your organization.

    A business case offers a clear, comprehensive understanding of a proposed project’s objectives, scope, and expected outcomes. It lays out the potential benefits, risks, and realistic expectations re: ROI. Orgs can measure the viability of ERP projects by weighing potential benefits against factors like budget constraints, available resources, and risks.

    Justify the Investment

    Without a clear “why” behind planned ERP investments, you’ll have a hard time getting the rest of your org to buy into your vision. If you somehow get the green light without making a strong case for the investment, you’re looking at even more trouble. Chances are, you’ll waste your org’s limited resources and introduce unnecessary risks to the business.

    Enabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft PlatformEnabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft Platform

    You’ll want to conduct a comprehensive impact analysis before getting started. This process will help you focus on the ERP projects most likely to deliver on specific goals. 

    Be sure to gather as much information as possible. You want to make sure you’re prepared to address all potential impacts – whether positive, negative, or just different. 

    Before you start putting together your presentation, make sure you can: 

    • Identify which departments, roles, or individuals are most affected by the proposed investments.
    • Explain which processes will be improved.
    • Explain what improvements will mean for the business, each functional group, and individual stakeholders impacted by proposed changes. 
    • Demonstrate how, exactly, the proposed business case will change existing processes.

    Once you’ve gathered enough information, you’ll need to figure out how to best present it to the right decision makers.

    Paint a Realistic Picture

    Your business case should present an unbiased view of both the pros and cons of taking on your ERP project. The goal is to help stakeholders, such as management, executives, and investors, make informed decisions about allocating resources and approving the project.

    Done right, it gives them the information they need to identify and assess potential risks and challenges of proposed initiatives. That way, they can make plans with those pitfalls in mind, prioritize high-impact projects, and allocate resources to the areas that stand to benefit most.

    For example, your sales director might bring up the fact that their team needs extra support to make the most out of your new ERP’s mobility features.

    Leadership might then decide to set aside some extra resources to support sellers on the move. Perhaps by enlisting an outside expert to design processes that make it easy for them to submit reports, generate estimates, or demo products

    Align ERP Plans with Strategic Goals

    A business case also helps ensure that ERP plans align with your org’s strategic goals and big-picture vision. It highlights how the project will support business growth, improve operational efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, and provide a competitive advantage in the market.

    Integrating ERP with Sales and Service Now Costs a Lot Less

    3. Invest (Heavily) in Your Data Management Strategy

    If the ERP is the “skeleton” that supports the entire digital ecosystem, data is the backbone holding it all together. 

    See, ERPs rely on accurate and up-to-date data to function effectively. Without strong data management practices, powerful systems crumble into something as useless as a pile of old bones. 

    Data management is a complex strategy involving many different activities including: data cleansing, validation, integration, governance, and more. Together, these processes work to ensure data integrity, consistency, relevance, and accessibility.

    We can’t cover the full scope of data management in one short blog post. That said, here are some of the key ways strong data practices form the foundation for the most foundational system in the stack:

    Cross-Functional Data Flows

    One of the key things an ERP does is that it integrates various functions and processes into one centralized system — allowing you to manage finance, operations, HR, etc. in one place.

    It’s important to note that to effectively manage core processes, you’ll need to integrate your ERP with all other business critical apps and data sources. This includes CRM and project management software, productivity apps, analytics & BI tools, and external data sources you use to support your business in any capacity.

    To ensure seamless operations and decision-making, your ERP needs access to reliable, consistent data — in real-time. This enables seamless data flows and prevents issues caused by duplicate data-entry and redundant records.

    The Right Microsoft Partner Can Drive Business SuccessThe Right Microsoft Partner Can Drive Business Success

    Strong Governance 

    Establishing data governance policies and processes preserves data integrity – ensuring that all data remains consistent, compliant, and 100% accurate. You can use data governance to support ERP strategies in a few different ways. 

    For example, you can create custom policies that enforce change management strategies by providing guided automations, using nudges & reminders, and delivering role-specific learning materials directly to end-user workstations. 

    ERPs handle sensitive, confidential data such as financial records, customer data, and employee information. Governance policies help orgs safeguard that information by automatically enforcing security protections and compliance requirements – even as they take on projects that fundamentally change their core system. 

    Policies might also be used to implement automated testing during key phases in the ERP journey – triggering workflows that raise the alarm when issues emerge and escalating problems to the right person for quick resolution. 

    Data Retrieval & Analysis

    Effective data management also enables efficient data retrieval and analysis. This benefits the ERP strategy by connecting project leaders and other stakeholders with real-time insights into how projects are performing. 

    They can generate more accurate reports and use insights to drive decisions and take action. And, they’ll have an easier time tracking metrics, identifying patterns & trends, and course-correcting when ERP projects stray from the desired path.

    4. Establish Strong Project Management Practices

    Project management is a cornerstone of any ERP strategy for several reasons. First, it provides the structure, oversight, and coordination needed to ensure your ERP delivers the right results. More specifically, it supports your strategy in the following ways:


    ERP projects are highly-complex. They involve many different processes, departments, and stakeholders and span many different phases. Each phase comes with its own set of objectives, challenges, and critical tasks. Each team supports key goals from a different perspective. All elements must work together to keep the project moving in the right direction. None of this can happen without strong project management practices in place to hold it all together.

    Time & Resource Management

    ERP projects also demand meticulous planning and resource allocation. With so many moving parts in the mix, project management is essential for ensuring that time, talent, and IT budgets are used effectively. This helps orgs set realistic timelines, prevent budget overruns, and keep projects on track.

    Risk Mitigation

    Project management also plays a key role in helping orgs get ahead of the risks ERP initiatives bring to the table. ERP projects often introduce unexpected challenges such as scope creep, data issues, and integration problems. 


    These issues can put the business at risk — undermining security, compliance, and data quality. PMs can use data to ID potential risks early in the game, and develop proactive strategies for mitigating them. Early detection also helps reduce the impact these (and other) issues might have on a project.

    Communication & Collaboration

    ERP projects involve collaboration between different teams, departments, and stakeholders. Project managers help ensure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same shared goals. 


    They can do this by establishing channels for communicating updates, working with colleagues, and sharing information. It’s also important that each stakeholder group has easy access to the tools and information they need to contribute to shared goals.

    Quality Control

    Project management ensures that the implementation process follows best practices and quality standards. This process involves defining metrics and monitoring KPIs, performing routine audits, and course-correcting when projects aren’t on-track to meet targets.

    5. Make Change Part of the Long-Term Plan

    In the past, you might only replace your ERP system after some once-in-a-generation change forced you to level up your tech.  Think —the birth of the internet, the rise of the smartphone and social media. 

    Mastering Copilot eBookMastering Copilot eBook

    Assuming you chose the right platform, you’d be good for the next decade or so — save for the routine updates and upgrades that come with ERP ownership.

    You may know this already, but that’s not how things work anymore. These days, change happens so rapidly, ERPs are obsolete long before you reach the go-live. 

    How then, are you supposed to build an effective strategy when you can’t even anticipate short-term conditions?

    A lot of this is about making it easier for people to adapt to change. It’s about providing access to the right people and resources, simplifying processes, and putting the right mechanisms in place.

    Provide Adequate Training & Support

     Implementing an ERP system usually requires employees to learn new skills or adapt existing ones. You’ll need to ensure that users are properly trained to use the new ERP system. At first, your focus will be on equipping employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate the new ERP system.

    Employees must learn to follow Agile-like practices and develop a proactive, change-oriented mindset. You need to give them the tools and resources they need to solve problems themselves and ID opportunities to make improvements.

    Invest Continuous Learning

     Invest in continuous learning opportunities like refresher courses, tutorials, and workshops. Long-term, you’re continuing to build on those foundational skills. Because skills and technology are always evolving, you’ll need to make sure that training is more about adaptability than mastery. Technologies like AI, ML, low-code/no-code, and the IoT are rapidly evolving, and orgs need a reliable way to keep everyone’s skills up to date under near-impossible conditions.

    Address Resistance

    ERP implementation often brings significant changes to an organization’s processes, workflows, and systems. You’ll need to work to overcome resistance from employees who may be set in their ways or fearful of change. 

    Project managers and change champions play a key role here. Work closely with these leaders to develop plans that combat resistance at every level. This will go a long way in ensuring a smooth transition to the new system and embracing the adaptive mentality you need to power long-term success.

    Reengineer Processes with End-Users in Mind

    Orgs must reengineer existing processes to align with changing goals and the capabilities offered by their new ERP.  Your change management strategy not only plays a vital role in redesigning key processes in a structured, efficient, and minimally disruptive way. It also needs to help the people affected by those processes navigate change.

    Final Thoughts

    Building a solid ERP strategy requires careful planning, strong project management, and a focus on change management. Following these steps can help ensure smoother ERP implementation and bigger returns on your investment.

    The right partner goes a long way in putting those plans into action. But – you still need to be prepared to put in the work. 


    Next Steps

    Now that we understand how vital a strong and effective ERP implementation is, the next step in this journey is finding your perfect fit ERP solution.

    Ready to discuss your ERP needs? Contact our Velosio sales team today!



    Business Leaders Guide to the New Digital AgeBusiness Leaders Guide to the New Digital Age

    Ben Bolte

    Sales Director at Velosio

    Follow Me: