Recently, I sat down with Alex Drake, one of Tibersoft’s Client Success Managers, to ask him about a recent foodservice performance optimization project he worked on with his client: an ERP conversion. Navigating an ERP conversion is a complex task, especially when it disrupts critical business functions like sales reporting. His experience explores the multifaceted challenges associated with ERP transitions and what foodservice manufacturers can do to mitigate these issues.

Common Challenges Surrounding ERP Transition 

One way that Tibersoft is used by our client community is as their primary sales reporting tool. It gives them access to insights within their shipment data to drive strategic business decisions. Data from the ERP system is pushed into the Tibersoft solution to be cleansed and curated for these data-driven sales teams. Alex shared two primary challenges that can occur during an ERP transition, as he’s been a part of multiple across his client base. 

Deprioritizing Reporting and Analytics

During major implementations or system upgrades it’s important to keep your sales and other customer-facing teams informed and up to date. Having current and accurate sales data is critical, especially when shipments may be delayed by system issues.

Maintaining History

Many major system changes involve changes to master data and numbering structures leaving history disconnected from current activity. Having a plan to maintain sales history with updated structures is key to successfully managing accounts. Even if that data is cleansed and managed offline, easy access to sales analytics is critical to managing sales into the future.

The Implication: Loss of Historical Reporting & Incompatibilities Between ERP Systems 

Any major system change can force a change to customer numbers, item numbers, and relationship structures, which disrupt the flow of information and the ability to generate historical sales reports.  

Why Does it Happen?

Alex explained: reporting systems are expecting data in a specific format. However, t system changes often introduce new hierarchies and levels, causing a mismatch between historical and current data views. This incompatibility means clients no longer maintain consistent reporting, leaving their sales team without the insights they had relied on for years. 

The Impact: Loss of Sales Reporting History

Clients can lose years, not just weeks or months, of sales reporting data. Sales systems can only report on new activities post-ERP implementation, leaving a significant gap in their data. This forces sales teams to go without access to historical reports, hindering their ability to analyze past performance and inform future strategies with data-driven insights.  

The Solution: Reestablishing Data Integrity 

When Alex’s client’ reached out to him for help, he swiftly devised a solution to address the critical challenge at hand. Alex helped rewrite  three years’ worth of sales history to align seamlessly with the new data structure. This effort integrated the historical data with the updated system, restoring comprehensive reporting capabilities for the sales team.     

A deep understanding of the client’s data, intricacies of their operations, and comprehensive industry insights enabled efficient navigation of complexities, swiftly providing the client’s sales team with the insights they urgently needed to secure and grow their business to meet AOP (annual operating plan) objectives.     

“We [Tibersoft] came in and were able to get something in front of their sales team that they hadn’t had for months and desperately needed.” – Alex Drake

How Important is a Trusted Business Partner in Your ERP Transition Success?  

The expertise of Client Success Managers (CSMs) like Alex Drake is invaluable as they have a deep understanding of both industry nuances and client-specific requirements.  

 “I think it’s just our intimate knowledge of their data, their systems, the industry in general, and what their users wanted to see.”  – Alex Drake    

Trusting experts to manage their specialized areas efficiently is crucial. For example, in a technical project like ERP management, the IT team must focus on their designated tasks. When secondary yet critical challenges emerge, the Professional Services team of CSMs steps in to provide support. Alex’s intimate familiarity with the client’s data played a pivotal role in swiftly resolving sales reporting issues, underscoring the significance of having a dedicated expert readily available.

The success of ERP transitions relies heavily on a technology partner truly acting as a collaborator. Alex emphasized the importance of involving all the partners and experts in the planning stages to ensure a smooth process. He adamantly recommends: 

“Don’t limit your planning to internal discussions alone. Ensure that any technology partners who may interact with that information are engaged early in the process.” – Alex Drake 

By acting as trusted partners rather than mere application sellers, CSMs ensure that businesses receive comprehensive support throughout the transition journey.

Closing Thoughts 

Alex’s client experienced significant disruptions due to their new ERP system’s inability to handle historical data, leading to the loss of vital sales reports and critical insights. Leveraging Tibersoft’s extensive data records and Alex’s expertise, the team quickly converted historical data to meet the new system’s requirements, restoring the sales team’s visibility and enabling informed decision-making. This highlights the importance of engaging experts who understand both data intricacies and business needs. Furthermore, it emphasizes the value of collaborating with technology partners, who offer advanced solutions that enhance the team’s efficiency and decision-making capabilities, ultimately propelling business forward.     

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