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Fiona McGuinness30-Sep-2022 10:29:566 min read

Understanding the Role of an ERP System Administrator

If you’re undergoing an ERP implementation project with us, we make sure to work closely with you to help lead and drive your project. Equipped with a wealth of experience, we’ll give you the direction and guidance your ERP implementation needs to get you operating at your best.

In a perfect world, we’d take care of everything for you. But to get the most out of your new software, your business will still have to be responsible and accountable for its implementation and subsequent upkeep. That means putting in place a range of roles to make the transition to a new ERP as smooth as possible. An ERP System Administrator is one such role that can ease your team through the whole process and beyond.

But what exactly does this role entail, and how can it help with ERP implementation and the long-term optimisation of your software? We’ll take a look at this vital position in more detail below.

What does an ERP system administrator do?

Implementing ERP software is not without its challenges. For starters, there can be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the changes it will bring about within your business. As a result, your team probably have their fair share of concerns: how will their current processes be affected? What changes will need to be made? Will it take long for them to get up to speed on the new technology?

An ERP systems administrator is in place to ease these concerns, manage your system implementation and maintain the ERP system after it goes live. Their duties require them to know the elements of the system inside and out, be fully trained so they can manage data, make changes to user screens, and configure it to satisfy your business rules and policies. They also control your company workflows, continuously improving them as you grow and scale.

Typically a senior person within the business, they must also be confident in their abilities to administer security policies, ensuring that sensitive information is only available to authorised staff.

It’s a big role that can’t be underestimated. It’s vital that the System Administrator understands what they are getting in to, and that they have the time to actually do it.

Some businesses may not have the resources in place to put someone in the role full time. And while they may be able to carry it out in parallel with their other duties, they need to be aware of what they are taking on.

They will definitely need support from other people in the business. For instance, if it’s the MD, they may not know how to extract information out of the system, but they may know all the touch points in the business.

Or, it could be that the IT person has administrative rights to pull out their data but may not know how other business units run. While the data extraction is something your ERP vendor can help with, the person in the System Administrator role will still need the business acumen to validate the data. This data extraction process is, in itself, a large project and a holistic approach needs to be taken on it.

A lot of people underestimate the work involved in providing the vendor with a dataset of their products, customers and suppliers. It’s a big undertaking and time needs to be set aside to do it. Plus, each department needs to contribute – it should not be a solo effort that falls on one person.

Shot of a young man working on his laptop in a distribution warehouse

What skills does an ERP system administrator require?

The role of ERP system administrator would be a natural fit for anyone who relishes the challenge of taking on different problems when they arise. Using their quick thinking and creative abilities, they’re adept at coming up with fresh solutions to any issues a business may be struggling with post-implementation.

A passion for technical understanding is obviously key. As well as being literate with Microsoft Server and an array of programming technologies, they’ll be required to stay up to date with the latest developments in your chosen ERP – as well as related systems.

Alongside these technical aspects, impressive communication skills are also part and parcel of the role. ERP system administrators must be able to boil down technical topics into easily understandable, jargon-free points – and then report these to key stakeholders.

Likewise, their written communication will be tested too. They’ll be required to produce clear, helpful documentation with regard to processes and technical specifications for other team members, so that everyone can fully understand what’s being asked of them.

Why is an ERP system administrator important?

Without an ERP system administrator in place, businesses might find that they’re going to struggle with their implementation. An administrator’s skills are essential to identifying areas for improvement, responding to customer demands with relevant solutions and assigning ERP ownership across the team.

They’re also responsible for teaching ERP system users how their function relates to other teams and areas of the business. Without one, silos are more likely to pop up, which can stand in the way of productivity, morale, and the customer experience when they do arise.

The lack of an ERP system administrator also means that a more reactive relationship with your ERP vendor may develop. Rather than being proactive, this kind of relationship can lead to conflicts down the line due to a lack of system and process understanding.

An ERP system administrator needs to work with and understand the processes of all business units. Think of them as an expert of your business itself. They should be au fait with reporting, and then marshalling the relevant data, before they present it to their chosen vendor.

So, while someone in a project manager role will be great at co-ordinating things, they’ll only know so much when it comes to the details of specific processes. The system administrator, on the other hand, will know the most about the business.

They’ll be familiar with the personalities, they’ll know specifics such as what label printer they’re currently using – or they could be the connection in the business that can find out. As a result, strong people skills are something of a must.

Multi-ethnic group of young entrepreneurs having a business meeting in front of the transparent wipe board in the office

Other roles a business needs for ERP implementation

A system administrator isn’t the only role a business requires to implement an ERP system successfully. Below, we’ll run through a series of other essential positions that make the process smoother and more stress-free:

  • Project sponsor: Accountable for the project’s highest level, the project sponsor is responsible for making decisions on budget and timescale, as well as being the point of contact for any escalation.
  • Project manager: Responsible for project delivery, the project manager is a key point of contact, overseeing all project activities and ensuring that all customer responsibilities are completed in a timely manner.
  • Data extraction & manipulation lead: All your previous data from your legacy system has to go somewhere. It’s up to the data extraction & manipulation lead to do just that, extracting data and manipulating it so it can be imported into an ERP system. It’s a hefty task, but if you’re working with us, then the Intact team will be on hand to guide your lead through the process.
  • Workstream/process leads: Across your sales, purchasing, stock and sales finance teams, you’ll need someone to create the structure and design of the end system and its related processes. A key role throughout the project, they’re responsible for testing and gaining feedback to improve processes, and defining how their team members will be trained on the ERP system.

If you’re planning to fill these roles from within the business, then you’ll need to weigh up the time it will take to fully prepare them for their new positions, along with filling their previous role to maintain continuity.

ERP software that’s flexible, customisable and fits the needs of your operations is essential. Intact iQ provides just that, delivering future-proof solutions across a vast range of business areas. For further information, head here or get in touch with us today.

 

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Fiona McGuinness

I've been part of the Intact family for 16 rewarding years. After completing my Business Studies degree, I knew Marketing was a field I wanted to pursue. Prior to joining Intact, I primarily worked in the financial sector, focusing on marketing for credit unions. When I started at Intact, I handled all the marketing tasks by myself. Over time, as our team expanded, so did my role. Now, I specialise in crafting compelling content across various platforms, from blogs to video scripts. No two days are the same, and I thrive on the dynamic nature of my role. Whether it's diving into customer case studies or lead campaigns, I'm driven by the positive impact our solutions bring to businesses. In an age where AI plays a significant role, I remain a firm believer in the power of authentic content. When I'm not working, you'll find me enjoying quality time with my family, sewing, or watercolor paintings.