Going through the selection process, and successfully implementing, a mid-market business management software solution like a new ERP system can be a very difficult and confusing proposition. What’s interesting is that business leaders are typically responsible for the decision and end result, and are often the least informed and least involved, seriously impacting the outcomes.
The risks and outcomes of an ERP implementation should be equally shared by decision makers, end users and service providers alike. To achieve the solution pay-off you anticipate, there are many considerations during your search and selection process.
There are things you might not ordinarily expect to hear from a service provider, but should. Most would like you to believe their “tried and true” processes somehow provide you with immunity from scope creep, unmet expectations and dissatisfied end users. The fact is, even in the best of situations, these forces are at play and if not carefully managed, can completely compromise the overall success and ROI of your ERP project.
The Critical Elements to ERP Success
There are many competing forces at play that can challenge an implementation, and from my experience, the following are the most critical elements a business executive can promote to have a shot at success.
- Establish an operational vision for the overall project, as well as success metrics for the company.These must be shared by all stakeholders and disseminated to all future users.
- Develop organizational “buy in” and “champions” within the ranks of key constituents and end users.
- Promote overall company goal awareness to support the project team throughout the journey.
Something to keep in mind is, in the case of an ERP project, more is not necessarily merrier. As more users get involved, if they don’t understand the overall objectives or the downstream benefits, the tendency in general is for them to question the wisdom, overcomplicate things and pit operational nuances and legacy processes against new system capability and workarounds.
Taking One For the Team
In any new implementation, it must be recognized that not every process is going to be more efficient for all users. People who are adversely impacted by more work tend to lose sight of the fact that the focus of a new system is the OVERALL efficiency of the organization. Those in this camp tend not to be aware of the downstream benefits and can only conclude that the system stinks, reinforcing the importance of management to invest time and effort into the elements above.
Leadership must enable end users to not only share their input early on, but also help them to understand they might have a seemingly less efficient process for the greater good of the organization. This approach is often met with a more positive response than might otherwise be realized or expected.
So there you have it – I’ve distilled 30 years of ERP implementation experience into a concise blog post! These simple tasks can go a long way in ensuring a successful outcome for your ERP project.
If you’re looking for professional guidance with your ERP selection and implementation process, we’d be happy to talk. Click here to schedule a free consultation with us.