4 Common ERP Implementation Strategies

Last Updated: August 28th, 2023
Researched and Written by: Lexi Wood

The 4 ERP implementation strategies are phased rollout, parallel adoption, pilot plan, and hybrid. Adding an enterprise resource planning software to your businesses can provide a lot of benefits, such as automating time-consuming manual tasks and streamlining back office operations. But before you can roll out your new ERP system, you need to have a good strategy in place to prevent problems. Here are some of the top options:

Big Bang

The big bang implementation approach is when an organization adopts and deploys the entire ERP across its entire operations in a single, comprehensive implementation event. This switchover reduces problems from working with duplicate systems, but it does have a really steep learning curve as everyone in the company has to adapt at the same time.

There is also a mini big bang which follows the same principles on a smaller scale. The “bang” might only impact a few departments at a time rather than the entire company, especially if there are multiple offices.

Phased Rollout

Unlike big bangs, phased rollouts occur slowly. This strategy is meant to ease learning curves on the new ERP as much as possible and smooth out the transition. There are a few different types of phased rollouts, such as:

  • By Module: Starting implementation with key tools first
  • By Business Priority: Adopting software to meet specific business needs
  • By Department: Rolling out an ERP to certain departments or teams first

Parallel Adoption

This combination rollout plan uses any existing legacy system alongside the new ERP for an extended period of time. Using this adoption method, users have a familiar backup as they adjust to the new system. However, this strategy leads to almost double the work as employees have to use both. It also increases the risk of double-entries.

Pilot Plan

Sometimes, only one part of the business will benefit from an ERP implementation. In those situations, the ERP is only set up for that area as a trial before moving on to full implementation. This works best when a team of users get the chance to try out the software, find potential issues, and develop workarounds or address problems directly with the vendor.


Finally, there are hybrid strategies, which combine any of the above to create a completely custom implementation plan. For example, “mini” big bangs are essentially part of a phased rollout implementation. Entire departments can adopt a new ERP without disrupting work in another area of the company. And a pilot plan might work if there are multiple offices and corporate wants to run a trial on multiple options.

How to Create an Implementation Strategy

In order to select the right implementation strategy, these are the top things to consider:

  • Industry: Consider if there are any industry-specific requirements, such as safety regulations, which will need to be covered by an ERP.
  • Organization size: Know the number of active users an ERP will have, as more concurrent users will increase complexity.
  • Costs: The implementation budget determines if any extra add-ons or customization can be added.
  • Risks: Adopting any new software can lead to risks from data being lost or duplicated, along with human error during user training. Research what can happen if your ERP implementation goes wrong.

By taking all these factors into consideration during the preplanning stage, you can get the best return on investment from your ERP. For instance, a global enterprise with thousands of employees might consider a pilot program at one local office to reduce risk. A small startup might opt for a big bang approach because it’ll be cheaper to implement.

Additional Best Practices

Once you’ve selected the best strategy for your needs, you can focus on the next 5 steps of ERP implementation plan:

  • Installation: This is the time to make sure you have the right hardware for your new ERP.
  • Configuration: Consider adapting the raw functionality of an ERP to your specific security requirements, workflows, and business needs
  • Customization: Related to configuration, determine if any extra add-ons are necessary to cover more functionality.
  • Data Migration and Conversion: Determine the best way to import data from your legacy system.
  • Integration: Finally, ensure clear communication between existing software and your new ERP.

With all these elements taken into account, you can create the best ERP implementation strategy for your business.

Talk with a software advisor
Talk with an advisor
Get a free consultation from an independent software expert.
Or, call toll-free: (800) 827-1151
Talk with a software advisor
Talk with an advisor