How to Conduct a Meaningful ERP Audit

 In Resources

So, you’ve had your ERP system for a while, and while the software you purchased covers many core business processes, you only use a few the modules available. Or, maybe you use your system a lot but haven’t really reviewed things to see how efficiently they are running post implementation. One word: audit.

An internal audit is an excellent way to know where you stand even in cases where you don’t plan an upgrade or change. It can help you spot issues ahead of an upcoming external audit and give you the time to fix things for optimal internal and external customer experience.

Different systems have unique processes, architectures and security attributes and need to be treated differently in an audit. While the technical aspects of your audit will vary, there are a series of high-level goals you will need to consider. These are the five considerations we recommend you start with.

1. Study your processes and KPIs
As with most good things, begin with the organization’s goals. What do you want to achieve? What are your KPIs and how are they currently measured? This will get you to a place where you know your processes well, after which you can use your technology to enhance them. When auditing, the easiest proof points to measure are clearly articulated KPIs related to your core business.

2. Assess quality of usage
The next step is working with business users to understand how they are using the system. What’s being done well now that needs enhancing? What gaps exist? What are your adoption rates? How well trained are your users on the current version of the software? Are they fully using the features of your system? How much easier has it made their work compared to when things were manual? Are there duplications or slots of wasted time because your system isn’t specifically addressing your needs? If you have multiple systems now, are they all integrated? Does your current workflow match the workflow you put in place at the start of your project? Start this one department at a time and document your results. This will help you spot trends and then map out new processes to address them as necessary.

3. Identify control points.
Take a good look at your ‘control points’. Business processes usually have a few areas where approvals or alternative action is required. These are called control points and are typically where people have issues with the system. Identify all your control points in your audit to make sure you have actionable ways to make your flow as smooth as possible. When your control points don’t create bottlenecks as your work flows through the system, your efficiency levels will get higher.

4. Identify key risks and put in place measures to mitigate them
As with control points, risks need to be assessed and managed. After you’ve conducted a system audit, you should be able to tell what areas have room for error and how to fix it using your system. Often, with your risks, it would be helpful to work with real scenarios. For example, if you have a product that needs a recall, how long would it take? Is it easily done?

5. Make an action plan for the future
The findings of a well-documented audit, while a critical document, means nothing without an action plan. The vital next step is identifying fixes, enhancements and other additions that you need to make to take your processes to the next level and get the most out of you current system. Set in place a timeline for your process improvement and place accountability with key personnel… so your action plan gets actioned!

Good luck!

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