“Organizations don’t prosper,” notes Harvard Business Review, “unless managers in the middle ranks . . . identify and promote the need for change.”
Put another way, managers today sometimes need to advocate for the types of change they want to see in their organizations, and that includes changing your processes and your process management software to better align with the company’s goals.
In that light, a recent article from the folks at Panorama Consulting nicely highlights what they call the “8 Secrets to Developing a Business Case for an ERP Implementation.” (Full article here.)
We’ll share their 8 key tips here today…
- Relate the problem to the bottom line. Always the most important factor. Whether it’s keeping up with growing workloads, managing disparate silos of data or giving common access to all, the best way to pitch your strategy is to relate it to your company’s bottom line.
- Show multiple opportunities for improvement. ERP touches all levels of the organization. Emphasize the transformational benefits, and be sure stakeholders understand: it’s a strategic investment.
- Demonstrate long-term usability. Modern systems are powerful, expansive, user-friendly and integrate with other technologies allowing you to adapt to the future. Outdated systems can be expensive and difficult at best to maintain. Show the value therein.
- Build credibility through case studies and reports. Decision makers need data to justify any investment. ERP is no different. Systems providers should be able to provide you with plenty of ammunition.
- Anticipate failure. As Panorama notes: “When you approach the executive team, don’t just present the reasons why you should adopt the new technology. Think through the potential reasons why you shouldn’t, and come prepared with answers to objections.”
- Set a realistic timeframe. Systems take time… lots of it. Allow for pre-purchase analysis, workflow and process review, resource allocation efforts, as well as training, testing, data porting, and a well-paced go-live process. Again, just be realistic, then build in some margin for error. You’re taxing everyone’s systems, but the results in the end are worth it.
- Offer to monitor, report and analyze. Keep up communication with the executive team at all times and regularly. Provide regular status updates, and be honest about them. Show that your efforts are aligned with their priorities.
- Liaise between executives and end-users. Again, quoting the consultants: “Nobody will have more insight into what’s necessary in an ERP system than the people who currently own your business processes. You can communicate their pain points up the chain of command, ensuring the technology you select meets your business needs.”
Never lose sight of the business case, and build yours around it, if you want to enjoy the benefits of the best that technology has to offer, and the opportunity to make a lasting impression on the entire firm.