An effective internal ERP implementation team is a key success factor in enterprise software adoption. In our experience, a new ERP system simply doesn’t get up and running on it’s own. It requires a dedicated team of professionals—assembled from across the organization—to lead the charge, bring your new tools to life…make it happen. While some companies take a backseat approach to deploying new technology, those who maintain active involvement in the process are most likely to see quicker, more comprehensive results.
Your ERP implementation is a complex undertaking that will impact a large number of stakeholders, from employees and vendors to customers. It’s also a significant financial investment, so you can’t afford to do anything but put together a team and encourage them to put their collective best foot forward. Here, we share our advice for how to do it right:
1. Seek Inspiration From Business Goals
“We just really need to update our technology and join the 21st century” is a valid reason to implement a cloud-based ERP system. So is creating a cloud-computing environment or enabling mobile, app-based access to productivity tools. But there are more specific (and likely measurable) non-IT reasons your organization is introducing new technology.
These are the business goals that define the system use case and make it necessary to transform the way your organization manages data and processes. They probably have something to do with bringing data together, identifying opportunities optimize processes, saving costs, etc. The objectives may vary by functional area, department, or end user, but they’re all critical because they inform your expectations.
With these critical business goals in mind, your team will be able to make faster, more targeted decisions that lead to the outcomes you’ll be looking for after your system is in place.
2. Engage An Executive Sponsor
Any major business investment requires C-Suite support—and that means more than authorizing purchases and signing checks. They need to stand behind the project because of its strategic significance: it will influence the growth trajectory of the company. But on a less philosophical and more practical level, a highly visible and resected executive sponsor can help get employees interested and excited about the technology and help address any roadblocks standing in the way of the project timeline, even if he or she isn’t involved in hashing out granular details.
Find more insights in 3 Ways Executives Can Avoid ERP Project Pitfalls.
3. Enlist Enterprise-wide Representation
When it comes to putting a team together, it’s best practice to include representation from every department that will be affected by the ERP system. This will include but not be limited to people from finance, purchasing, marketing, production, engineering, quality, and IT, of course. Note that Technology Evaluation Centers recommends keeping teams to about 12 people in order to keep things moving.
Your team may contain people at different levels, from directors and managers to end-users, who will provide ongoing, tactical support across all stages of the ERP rollout. It’s essential they bring the following credentials to the table:
- Knowledge of existing systems—what’s working/not working and what the new system needs to deliver
- Good working relationships with end-users—they can help drive interest in the project among those in their respective departments
- Communication skills—so they can keep their co-workers apprised of project milestones, promote the new system’s features and benefits, answer questions, and address concerns
4. Emphasize Project Management
Who is going to lead the team and keep the process rolling? Your project manager, who may or may not be the individual who championed the idea of a cloud-based ERP system in the first place. They were probably involved in introducing a solution and evaluating business needs and alternatives. In any case, the project manager (if that’s not their official title) needs to understand how IT implementations work and have had served on an implementation team before. And, importantly, they need to remain committed to putting in the time and resources required to get the job done correctly.
5. Rely On Third-Party Support
You don’t have to rely only on your internal implementation team and vendor to set up your new ERP system. Working with experienced IT consultants who are armed with knowledge of the latest enterprise technology trends and time-tested implementation best practices will ensure you don’t miss any details.
If you’re preparing to implement an ERP system—or you’re thinking about it—MIBAR can help. Contact us to learn more!