As the results from a recent survey of 188 respondents by Aberdeen Research confirmed, “the main paradox that comes with ERP implementation projects stems from the fact that a successful implementation project requires employee commitment.”
The paradox being that employees often need to move away from their day-to-day jobs in order to accomplish the implementation tasks of the new ERP project. This is a point we in particular make, early and often, to our own ERP customers. You’re asking your team not only to do their regular ‘day jobs’ but also imposing upon them the additional strains and challenges of implementing a whole new system.
Moreover, it’s likely the reason you’re doing this new system in the first place is because you’re growing… you’re stretching the envelope of the current system’s capabilities… you’re worried about how long the old system can ‘hang on’… and because of all this, your staff is almost certainly busier than ever. And now you want to rock their world with a whole new system?
But the real irony, we find again and again, is that even though the very team who will bear the greatest burden is in the crucible, it is almost always they who are begging for a new system – for who knows better just how badly a new ERP system is needed? They’re the ones fighting the old system in the trenches every day, dealing with the cobbled-together routines they use to make up for, get around, or otherwise surmount the obstacles imposed by the old system in the first place.
Yet despite the pains and foreboding, companies press forward – because ultimately, they must. You simply cannot grow, or even attempt to grow, to a maturity level commensurate with most owners’ goals without the necessary infrastructure in place. ERP is that foundation.
So in this series of posts, will look at the paradox and the process, and give you some advice, as validated by the folks at Aberdeen Research and their 188 respondents, on how best to go about the process of implementing a new system.
The first thing Aberdeen looked at was “the pressures” that companies faced when confronted with the need to replace their old systems (or lack of systems) with a new ERP system. They found the key issues to be:
- Lack of internal resources (or that the existing resources simply don’t have the time to be away from their ‘real jobs’ and daily responsibilities for many months)… was cited by 45% of respondents
- The pressure to customize their systems – so they can truly match up to the key areas of business… was cited by nearly as many, at 42%
- The need to reduce the costs of the ERP process was cited as a pressure by 40%
- And the need to get a quick ROI was cited by 33%
Given these pressures, companies need to ‘set the groundwork’ next, for a successful implementation. We’ll take a look at how many of what Aberdeen calls the ‘Best-in-Class’ companies do just that, in our next post in this series. Stay tuned…