In an interesting post by Eric Kimberling of Panorama Consulting Solutions found here the author points out the challenges of a time-consuming ERP implementation.
Longer term, he notes, “few can fathom the concept of reducing staff after go-live to account for more operational efficiency. A relatively weak economy and financial uncertainty have combined to create situations in which ERP implementations can have unpredictable impacts on staffing levels during projects and after the projects are complete.”
So… what is the typical impact of an ERP implementation on staffing? According to his firm, nearly 50% of organizations reported “lack of staffing resources” as a key challenge that affected the outcome of their initiatives. We don’t find this surprising.
Most firms cite “resource constraints” as the key reason that implementations took longer than expected. Clearly most organizations don’t have a good handle on what it takes to appropriately staff their software projects. Or at the least, they seem unable to do anything about it.
Ironically, that lack of resources also reflects the other side of the ROI equation: business benefits. Kimberling details his thoughts on the topic, which you can read in the full post – basically, that companies are not achieving anticipated business benefits, which includes projected staffing levels. These lead him to two key recommendations when it comes to staffing for an ERP implementation, (as we ourselves have noted on previous occasions):
First, develop a realistic project plan. This must include process flow analysis, design, system testing, training and a host of other critical implementation and go-live activities.
The second step is to “understand how you expect the ERP system to affect staffing levels after the implementation, which requires a solid business case.” You must make assumptions regarding business benefits in order to project these kinds of numbers. Even if you don’t plan to downsize, how will you better leverage your staff post-implementation? Build a business case and business benefit plan to help determine what staffing levels will be necessary. Your business processes and organizational changes will largely help determine expected staffing levels after go-live.
Doing so, says Kimberling, increases the likelihood of a project that comes in on budget, as well as that the project will yield the longer term business benefits you anticipated.