Companies doing ERP projects should realize that it’s not an IT project – it’s a business project. It affects all areas of the company. Politics and complexity must be balanced. So we thought the following 6 quick tips from Mae Kowalke written for the IT Toolbox did a very nice job of quickly encapsulating a few important things every project team should remember:
- Get support from the top. ERP is a business-wide project, so it needs executive (C-Level) buy-in. If it doesn’t, the project will struggle mightily later, and eventually get bogged down in politics and infighting among even the best of intentions. And that senior leadership needs to show interest and stay concerned throughout the rollout.
- Assign a dedicated project lead. Companies need an experienced project leader – whether they are an internal resource or an external one – to safely guide the implementation through the many challenges it will face.
- Define organization needs up front. Be sure you have defined, and everyone understands, the business objectives you are trying to accomplish. The clearer you can list your requirements and desired outcomes at the start, the better your odds (and often, the lower your cost, because you’re not spending time and money on unplanned or unneeded features). Can you define what project success looks like at the start of your project?
- Plan for scope creep. Set realistic expectations and plan accordingly. But also plan for changes. They always happen. Setting milestones will help clarify project step success criteria. Have a robust process for signing off on changes, to ensure they are necessary and meaningful. Plan and keep regular status meetings between your company and your consultant providers to review project progress.
- Be ready to adjust business processes. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is change a business process, whether to match the software, or vice-versa. Either way, ERP projects are THE time to analyze, change and improve processes. Fix what’s broken while you get a fresh start.
- Give training its due. (We couldn’t agree more.) According to Gartner, “75 percent of enterprise ERP implementation failures come from lack of end user adoption.” Training is all too often overlooked or short-changed during the budgeting process. Resist the temptation to do this. “When you overlook the need for adequate training, you lose insight into the business results that are desired,” notes Amy Whetzel, director of ERP consulting operations for BroadPoint Technologies. We couldn’t have said it better.