While certainly guilty of a bit of overreach or, in the words of a 19th century poet, “he’s too clever by half…” Panorama Consulting’s Eric Kimberling stretches a metaphor a bit too far by comparing ERP implementations to some rock & roll song titles. Nonetheless, his points are well taken, so we’ll give proper credit in reprising this gem today from an article he wrote entitled “Five Things Rock and Roll Can Teach Us About ERP Implementations.”
Avoid the ERP implementation highway to hell. Smart organizations, Kimberling points out, know it’s not easy. Implementations are always challenging, but they don’t have to end up as famed disasters like Hershey’s, Waste Management or Avon. Most initiatives take longer and cost more than expected. Start by expecting it to be hard. Then invest the necessary time and budget. Be aware of the need for process change and organizational change management from the outset in order to increase the odds that your implementation will be one of the successful ones.
Watch for smoke on the water. ERP implementations don’t fail overnight. It’s an accumulation of risks and challenges and decisions over time. Under-budgeting time and cost are a good ‘smoke on the water’ sign of warning. Ditto for insufficient user-training or over-worked staffs too busy to realistically complete the work required. You have to be realistic.
The times they are a-changing. Organizational change management is always a challenge. Employee acceptance and adoption issues mean that employees need to take responsibility for the changes imposed by a new system. That moves from being excited at the onset through the hard work of the actual gritty requirements, challenges and compromises of the actual implementation.
Your ERP project should be about taking care of business. Don’t get hung up on the technical aspects of your implementation. People and processes (and process change) are at the core of it. Remember, it’s all about the business. Successful implementations require business process reengineering.
Don’t stop believing. Because they’re so difficult, “it can be easy to lose hope and lower the bar for success,” notes Kimberling. Go in with realistic implementations, keep your eye on them, and keep moving forward.
He may be killing us softly with his song(s), but Kimberling is right on the mark.
Sorry, we couldn’t resist.