A blog called Inside ERP posted a few cogent tips for those looking to improve the odds of success in their implementation efforts, in a post published at the IT Toolbox (here). Their tips “start at the top” by reminding us to…
- Get support from the top. Remember, ERP is a business-wide project, so it requires executive buy-in at all key stages of the project. As one provider noted: “Starting with senior leadership, there needs to be overwhelming support for a new way of doing things to encourage cooperation and adoption.”
- Assign a dedicated project lead. Whether internal or external, there needs to be an experienced project leader at the helm to safely guide implementation through the various political and technical challenges that the project will face. Look for someone that is persuasive, has good political skills, is an effective communicator and has enough domain experience in the matter to understand best practices.
- Define organizational needs up front. At our firm, we include this as an integral part of our “Business Process Analysis.” Define the business needs, and ensure that the software project is mapped to your firm’s required workflows and processes. Create a list of requirements and desired outcomes at the start of the project. You need to know at the outset “what success looks like.”
- Plan for scope creep. Scope creep is usually feature creep. It’s important to set realistic expectations at the start of the project. Setting milestones and individual responsibilities will help. Of course, you’ll have a process for change-orders and their approval in place, right? Regular project meetings will greatly help to ensure that projects are staying on course.
- Be ready to adjust business processes. Rather than taking the path of least resistance by avoiding “meddling with existing business processes,” recognize that an ERP implementation is the most ideal opportunity you will ever have to change and improve your processes and workflows. Where possible, make the changes and the software work in synch. If you only implement a new system in order to mimic the processes of the past, how are you really improving the business?
- Give training its due. According to Gartner research teams, “75 percent of enterprise ERP implementation failures come from lack of end user adoption.” Your staff needs to understand the new ERP system and how it benefits them and the company overall. They also need to know how to use the ERP system properly. Training is overlooked or under-budgeted completely at the risk of the project. Translation: don’t do it! Don’t shortchange training. It’s where the rubber meets the road, and it ensures your staff that you care about them – and about the success of your project!