Recently I was drawn to an article at a site called www.erp.com that posited what the author (for whom I could not find a credit or name anywhere) considered to be some key rules regarding the process of deploying and implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning system within a company.
I thought some of the points were much like what we tell our own clients, and worth sharing in an abbreviated form, here. So, here goes… We’ll start with the first five today, and finish up the Top Ten in our next post.
Tip 1: Have a game plan. In other words, it’s all about the preparation. A good attitude is a great thing, but you have to be a realist throughout your implementation, starting with senior management, about what can be done, and when. Be sure to break the project down into manageable chunks (that’s a veritable mantra around our own company). Be systematic. Allow your team plenty of time to review and discuss. The first stage should always be a lengthy process analysis and review, with a written summary of recommendations and a rough project timetable.
Tip 2: Assign a project leader. Your implementer (or VAR, Value Added Reseller) will have one, and you need to have one too. It’s the team leader’s job to assemble her team’s various positions, and determine the path that makes most sense when conflicts arise. This person needs to devote serious time to this project until it is complete. And, they need to have a strong and honest line of communication with their software provider or VAR.
Tip 3: Know your destination. Identify your goals clearly, and keep in line in marching toward them. The more closely your goals are defined, the more likely you will choose an appropriate path to a solution – both in terms of software and processes.
Tip 4: Measure the results. Have regular project status meetings. Establish benchmarks, and measure against them. By breaking projects down into manageable chunks (see tip 1), you can ensure that one project step is completed to the team’s collective satisfaction before moving onto the next. We like to use weekly 15 minute project team meetings (generally, phone calls or GoTo Meetings) for this purpose.
Tip 5: Make sure line staff have a say. From the pre-implementation analysis forward, be sure you understand what the people doing the work have to say. Managers don’t generally know all the details that are in their staffs’ heads. Worse still, change (and this is a big change) provokes anxiety. You want buy-in from all parties, so be sure to consider the opinions of all who will be affected by this change. (As the article smartly states: “Remember, you are implementing your new IT system to serve your employees, not vice versa!”)
In our next post, we’ll finish out our Top Ten Tips for ERP Implementations. Stay tuned…