Ready to go!
Whatever process you have taken, you have finally arrived at the point where your company is going to start the journey of selecting and implementing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. You have strong executive leadership and buy-in, now what? There’s a common phrase that states, “you only get out what you put into it”. Simply put, how well or poorly you plan a project or initiative will largely pre-determine the outcome. Now, you are venturing into the ERP application space. To select the best, most appropriate application and vendor, there are key points that are common, if not universal, to companies that have been successful with their ERP projects.
In this ongoing series, we’ll share best practices garnered from decades of working with customers whose ERP implementation success was pre-determined by their planning and execution thereof.
1. Ensure the Project is Properly Staffed and Budgeted
2. Establish an Executive Sponsored Project Team
3. Make a Requirements List but Focus on the High-Level Differentiators
4. Plan for What You Need Today and Tomorrow. Or as Wayne Gretzky said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
5. Be Open with Your Vendors
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
7. Limit Your Short List and Schedule Demos Fairly Close Together
8. Focus on Value vs. Bells and Whistles
9. Focus on The Implementation Partner during your Selection Process
10. Fully Utilize References to Aid in your Selection Process
Tip #2- Establish an Executive Sponsored Project Team
Implementing a new ERP system can be a daunting task for any organization. Defining clear implementation roles and responsibilities for your internal team is a critical key to success. These employees ideally are technically competent, able to see the company’s vision and embrace change. They should be involved in both the selection and implementation process so that their input is considered throughout the project. We find this dynamic provides the team with a greater sense of responsibility to ensure long-term success. The size and roles of the team are dependent on the size of your company, but at a minimum consist of a project manager, functional leads, and someone responsible for reporting. Functional leads should be prepared to educate themselves to the point where they’ll be able to educate other team members before and after deployment.
At the helm is the project owner, typically a senior executive who has the vision and communication skills to manage change. It’s essential this person (or multiple senior staff) be vocal about what success will look like, provide oversight, and define clearly the roles of the implementation team. A more qualitative skill involves persuading employees who have been doing something the same way for a decade or more to see the value of the new system. Examples: “This system will enable us to grow financially as a company.” “We want to be known for customer service excellence – that’s why we are changing our processes.” “This change will help eliminate frustrations you feel with our outdated processes and enable you to be more productive.”