Recently, Eric Kimberling of Panorama Consulting opined in an article that there are lessons to be drawn from a leisurely summer vacation that are applicable to ERP. While Kimberling note that he’s yet to meet the CEO/CFO/CIO who had the stated objective of “slowing down” an implementation, he has found what we, as ERP implementers ourselves, have found too: that often, slowing down the train is exactly the right advice.
In an article from their website the author points to five good lessons for ERP that can be derived from a summer vacation. We’ll reprise them today…
- Take time to develop a solid implementation plan. Taking the extra time to create a clear project strategy, plan and charter will save you a great deal of time later on.
- Define business processes before you start implementing ERP software. At our firm, we call this the BPA (the Business Process Analysis), and we won’t do a project without one. Only by mapping your current processes (and proposing the future-state processes) can you even begin to draw a roadmap for your ERP implementation.
- Get the right resources in place. While it may be tempting to rush into an implementation, resist the urge to move forward without stakeholder input. Beyond just budget, you need the right people ready to engage, as part of the necessary resource chain for a successful project.
- Quantify expected business benefits. This can be a tough one, but it holds value. As they say, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. As we’ve written about often in past posts, develop just a few key benchmarks – defined characteristics that are the most meaningful to the financial well-being and/or operational performance of your business – measure them, and track progress against them as you move forward. As Kimberling writes, “a quantifiable business case is critical for these project governance and benefits realization purposes.”
- Remember that your ERP implementation is a marathon, not a sprint. As much as some would like to tell (or sell…) you on the idea that implementations can be quick and easy – they are decidedly not. You’re in it for the long haul. As Kimberling points out, and we concur: you are about to overhaul your entire organization, and that takes time no matter how well you plan or execute. Always keep this fact in mind.
And so I once again have the opportunity to quote my old Slovenian grandpa who said many, many years ago in his best broken English the eternal watchwords of ERP implementations: “Take it slow, keep it go.”