Unlocking the Secrets of Successful ERP Implementations: A Conversation with Ninad Thakur from LeapGreat 

In our latest Q&A session, we sat down with Ninad Thakur, who leads Process Integrations at LeapGreat, to delve into the world of ERP, data, integration, and AI. Ninad has spent his career immersed in the world of SAP implementations. With over two decades in-the-trenches, Ninad holds the unique ability to configure and deploy the intricacies of integrations in the SAP software suite while also making complex concepts accessible to others. Join us in this insightful Q&A blog as we explore the vital aspects of ERP projects and what sets LeapGreat apart in the field. 

Q: Ninad, how do you think about the intersection of integration and data when it comes to successful ERP implementations that deliver ongoing value, beyond go-live? Do data and integration topics go hand-in-hand?  

Ninad: Data and a clean core are the cornerstones of successful ERP implementations. Good, clean data is essential throughout the ERP system’s lifecycle, not just during the initial launch. The phrase ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ certainly holds true in ERP implementations. Integration and data quality are intertwined because ERP systems rely on seamless data flow.  

For instance, consider the impact of erroneous customer master data in a sales order. It ripples through various integrated functions like credit checking, delivery, billing, accounts receivable, and even the General Ledger. Modern ERP systems, such as S/4HANA, come equipped with error-catching mechanisms to mitigate data issues. Additionally, automation software solutions like UiPath can further enhance data accuracy. The LeapGreat approach leverages ERP features, automation, and extensive implementation experience to ensure optimal ERP implementation and post go-live success.

Q: What are the top ways we should think about integration in the new world of ERP and AI?

Ninad: AI, as a field, is still evolving. Some aspects of AI have matured and are already securely integrated into ERP and automation software, like machine learning for accounts receivable collections or document understanding for processing unstructured data. These well-tested AI components greatly aid integration and should be part of ERP implementation planning.  

However, newer AI technologies, such as Large Language Models, are in their infancy. While their potential is promising, I recommend integrating them into ERP once you have established the clean core and data quality aspects. This allows AI to work on clean data. Garbage-in, Garbage-out also works with AI.  

Q: What are the biggest mistakes that companies have made when it comes to integrating their ERP solution?

Ninad: Some of the common mistakes include siloed ERP implementations that leave integration as an afterthought, neglecting data quality and migration until the last minute, and failing to educate project team members and key end-users about the importance of clean data and integration within the ERP system. Furthermore, Testing and Change Management are very often underestimated.

Q: What is different about the LeapGreat experience when it comes to integration and why?

Ninad: The LeapGreat experience is rooted in a wealth of real-world ERP project implementations, spanning from small to large companies. Our method encapsulates best practices and lessons learned, allowing these experiences to scale using a “factory concept.” Automation is embedded throughout the implementation lifecycle, enabling customers to visualize their ERP system early in the project with a risk-free test-drive. This significantly reduces Total Cost of Implementation (TCI) by addressing potential issues sooner. LeapGreat offers expertise packaged in an innovative, efficient approach.  This also has a direct effect on increasing business value of the final live system. 

Q: What do you want readers to know about the work that you are doing? What is important to you?

Ninad: We’re entering an exciting era of ERP implementations, with modernized software offering enhanced capabilities and simplified integration. The power of intelligent automation is finally maturing and can be used to achieve a much smoother implementation and a much more valuable platform.  The wider scope brings both benefits and complexities. To succeed, companies must leverage software advancements while incorporating the lessons and best practices of past ERP implementations. At LeapGreat, we’ve combined decades of ERP experience into our offering to help companies achieve faster, smoother implementations with reduced risk. We’re dedicated to harnessing the power of automation and facilitating the success of modern ERP projects. 

In summary, ERP implementations are evolving, and by embracing intelligent automation, technology, expertise, and a commitment to data quality and integration, companies can unlock the true potential of their ERP systems and drive ongoing value.  

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