As we conclude the month of November, it’s a time of year when many companies start thinking hard about their business information systems — well, at least those not deep in the throes of the retail Christmas market. Late in the year and early in the year following are the times we see the most activity. In that light, let’s look today at some key project success (or failure!) criteria…
Panorama Consulting, an ERP outfit in Colorado releases an annual survey of companies’ feedback compiled from the results, successes, failures, gripes and kudos of their own ERP implementations, all bundled into a report. In this year’s report, they confirm what is commonly known on the “sell” side of the industry, but less well known, apparently, on the buyers’ side.
As their 2016 report illustrates, while “data” issues were technically the number one reason cited among respondents (at 15%) for ERP implementation schedule overages (i.e., projects coming in late, by a little or a lot), a better way to look at it we felt – and so did Panorama by the way – is to combine two essential and related factors: Training and Organizational Change Management issues. When put together, these two factors were responsible for 17% of projects being delayed, often seriously so.
While data issues are indeed real – it’s almost always harder than anyone thinks, and more costly, to transfer data from old to new systems – those situations are eventually manageable, usually through comprise on both sides. But training and organizational management issues fall squarely on the shoulders of the companies whose systems are being implemented.
What is meant by organizational change management? Basically, attending to the needs of the people in your organization – and how they affect (or will be affected by) the improvement or implementation of your work processes and ERP. These issues include involving your team (and seeking their input) throughout the ERP implementation process… reworking processes and the people that control them… establishing baselines for your key performance indicators with team buy-in… understanding how you will manage communication issues within the team… and determining your most effective training strategies for all involved.
Then, it’s important to execute on all of it, right down to – most importantly – ensuring adequate training for all your staff. Because when projects fail, and they do, it usually comes down to the OCM plan, execution and subsequent employee training.
It’s important as well, as Panorama points out in a recent article to “tailor your organizational change strategy to fit your corporate culture and strategy.” That means doing an internal assessment early in your project to determine what changes are necessary, how (and when, and by whom) they will be implemented and where training will have the most impact.
The bottom line: the most critical thing is to pay attention to is the people side of change. As the authors conclude, it’s the path for getting to measurable business results, and affects your whole team.