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How Long Does it Take to Implement an ERP System?


How Long Does it Take to Implement an ERP System?

When it comes to ERP implementation Projects, one of the most common questions asked is – how long does ERP implementation take?  This question is usually aligned to the wider thinking around some of the key project influencers – where both time and resources are money.

There is no correct answer to the how long does it take to implement ERP – as there is no one ERP implementation project fits all scenario, as all ERP project roll-outs to go Live will depend on many factors and circumstances.

However, it is safe to say, that generally, a typical ERP Implementation Project can take anywhere from 6 months up to around 2 years for total implementation completion depending on several factors.

Some Pre-ERP implementation considerations

  • The unique requirements of the system installation such as customisations and add-on requirements
  • Company Size
  • Number of users
  • Number of location set-ups
  • Implementation environment – Cloud or on-premises
  • Data migration, knowing what is the important as well as ensuring it is clean data!
  • Other integration requirements with third-party systems
  • Transfer from or integration with other legacy systems, including data
  • Availability of key personnel and resources from project planning through to Go Live
  • Time to document and map the required existing and new business processes for the issues you wish for the project to resolve and to achieve the overall Business Goals and Objectives.

To help you along the road of your ERP implementation, below is a quick overview of some of our most frequent Q&As asked of ERP implementation Projects.

Your Guide to Help determine your ERP Enterprise System Implementation Duration:

Any ERP Implementation Project is a significant undertaking for any business and one which requires substantial investment in both time and resources to ensure for best ERP Project ROI.

The time that it will take to implement an ERP project can depend on a number of factors and identifying ERP project completion, though not an easy task, both the project duration and completion time-frames are a critical part of the project and must be scoped as accurately and realistically as possible.

Getting the project implementation / go live phase estimate wrong can end up being a very costly error through project over-run costs and time.

Creating an effective ERP Implementation Plan and timelines for all stakeholders to work from is a must, as it sets some realistic time-frames throughout the project cycle to go live.

How to Implement an ERP System QuicklyHow long does it take to implement an ERP System?

The answer to this question will greatly depend on your business and project needs and expectations.  ERP projects will vary on a case-by-case basis – from a few months to a few years! ERP Implementation Project time-frames are dependent on a number of key elements around:

  • the level of ERP functionality required
  • level of customised reporting configuration requirements
  • available resources
  • number of deployment locations and users
  • deployment environment
  • data migration & integrations
  • customisations and add-ons required.

How do you go about identifying the process to determine the project completion time-frame?

The above-mentioned elements will all impact on the project completion outcomes.  In addition to this, you will need to identify the correct number of business users to enable the implementation team to address all user complexities.  All Users will require custom training on the new ERP system to meet their particular user needs and done so not to impact on any go-live time-frames.

How soon can the ERP System Go live?

This question and answer should be one of the key drivers of the project and not addressed at the latter stage of the validating ERP system phase.

It is crucial to the projects success to create an effective clear communication plan for each cycle of the ERP implementation project.  To achieve this, will involve pre-planned project status update meetings between all of the ERP project stakeholders throughout the ERP project phases to final go-live.

All Implementation parties from the implementation team to the project committee must agree on realistic project priorities and expectations.   All key project stakeholders must take responsibility for ensuring fulfilment of their assigned project tasks and within set time-frames.

On-premise vs Cloud ERP Implementation  – How does the chosen Deployment environment impact the ERP Implementation?

The deployment environment does have an impact on the ERP Implementation depending on whether you choose to go the Cloud or On-premises route.

With the On-premises option, requires the purchase and setup of system hardware such as servers etc., and may take longer to execute the implementation.  With the Cloud deployment option, the ERP technology can be anytime and anywhere and does not need the added element of purchasing of the hardware as in the on-premises option.

Who Decides the ERP Implementation Timeline?

Who is the key Person/s with responsibility of determining the project implementation duration?

In most instances, it should be the implementation team who should also agree the project time-frames scheduling. In other scenarios, the client may be driven by other pressing business factors to have the project completed by specified time-frames and in these scenarios, there has to be clear communications between all project stakeholders to prioritise the project goals and completions.

A good approach is to break-out the ERP project implementation into phases and associated timeframes and which again will give realistic project phase completion transparency and to ensure project milestones are met.

It is also worth highlighting here that it is the key business leaders / decision makers across all departments also need to be accountable for participating and driving the user adoption of the ERP system.

What Can You do to Make for Successful ERP Implementation?

Some of the key considerations for a successful ERP implementation are around the identification of the key business processes, project stakeholders and owner’s accountability, customisations and integration requirements.

As part of any effective ERP project plan, a company must identify and define its business processes.  If the right business processes are not clearly defined at the out-set of your ERP project – then the implementation team will fail to factor these key elements into the ERP mapping phase and might ultimately result in project over-runs and missed go live targets and deadlines.

It is also critical that those project stakeholders with designated project roles needs to be held accountable for the completion of the tasks assigned to them and within the set time-frames.

Another key metric to be met to determine successful project implementation is the management of customisations and other system integrations.  Most ERP projects will require some level of customisations as no one ERP fits all.  However, you should prioritise on the key customisations that are required to meet your most important objectives and leave the lesser and non-priority customisations to after go live.

If integration between your new ERP system and other system integration configurations is a factor, this will also have project completion implications.

When is the best time to go live?

While a best time to go live may vary from company to company and circumstances, it is recommended (in many cases) to not go live at the start of the New Year.   While many companies may look at a January 1st as the ideal Go Live date, this can be an unrealistic go live date to meet due to other end of year business pressures and unexpected seasonal demands.  ERP Project Implementation completions and go live dates outside of peak business and seasonal demands are more realistic completion time-frames.

How Long Does it Take to Implement an ERP System?


Ultimately, those businesses that painstakingly map the ERP project from the outset will be best equipped to deal with ups and downs of any ERP implementation project.  It is critical to the project success for all stakeholders and owners to fully embrace and understand the project goals and objectives, create realistic expectations, and be fully aware of what the ERP system can actually deliver on prior to creating any ERP project time-frames and deadlines.

Without both sides being fully involved in the identification of all the project requirements, the chances of ERP implementation failure will increase significantly and very quickly!   While the average time-frame for an ERP system implementation can’t be fully estimated before the requirements specs are clearly defined, all parties should be mindful of realistic expectations.

This process is by no means quick, and it cannot be rushed. Examining your processes and determining the best course for the future is a process that must be navigated thoughtfully.  It is vital to focus on the relationship between both the vendor and the client as this will go a long way in determining just How Long Does it Take to Implement an ERP System? 

Don’t go it alone – Get help from one of the leading Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner’s in Ireland, with Simply Dynamics




Business Process Review – Our Services:

Like any good implementation – should always start with a Business Process Review and the right ERP Implementation Partner. Essentially, you want to have a defined Roadmap to Success for your Dynamics 365 Implementation.  BPR’s are mainly requested for key aeras such as:

  • Project Costs & Budgets
  • Implementation Scoping process
  • Workflow instruction for a holistic end-to-end view of the project
  • Continuous process improvement plans

At Simply Dynamics, the key aim of our business process review services is to take a closer look at every area of the business, every detail of daily tasks and any associated risk factors. By doing this, the real expectations of what the ERP system can do will be set. This will help in the long run to engage end-users in realistically using the solution and support the user-adoption process and ensure you enjoy the many benefits of the ROI in your ERP Technology Investments.

To learn more about how your organisation can drive your Business Success with the right ERP Selection Process – Contact Us Now or why not request a Free 30 Minute Consultation with our Dynamics 365 ERP & CRM Specialists Now – we’re here to help

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