ERP Project Deployment – Preparing for Surprises

Business and IT leaders have an endless list questions to work through when kickstarting an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Do we have the right project team?  What’s the total cost of ownership?  How will we integrate to third-party systems?  What organizational change management strategies and tactics will we deploy?  How will we choose amongst the sushi menu of features and functions?  All these questions can overwhelm even the most seasoned executive.  Navigating this process requires you do your homework.  Sure, you’ll outline “To-Do’s.”  But it’s equally important to outline the “To-Don’ts” and often-ignored surprises that can derail even the best set of intentions.

 

Bells, Whistles & Bullhorns

Bigger is always better, right?  Why have less when you can have more?!  So, when faced with a long of features, why not opt for it all?  Yes, all too often an organization selects the ERP that has the longest features matrix.  But features don’t tell the whole story.  Instead, businesses should consider the solution’s industry success history, customization, flexibility and integration ability, as well as customer support, in addition to how well the solution addresses the organization’s needs/requirements.

 

Doing It All Now

In today’s digital world, we want it all and we’d like it delivered.  There’s an expectation for rapid fire delivery and results.  But ERP systems are complicated and it’s not realistic to determine all the implementation requirements up front, then implement the system, train users and go live.  A traditional waterfall model of implementation just doesn’t work. Instead of charging ahead with an overly aggressive timeline, we suggest a more agile approach.  Think small steps with end-user involvement at every step to determine requirements, test, find gaps and then repeat.

 

Going It Alone

Many organizations choose to go it alone and keep it in the family.  Executives might rely on IT to structure their internal implementation team.  Perhaps it’s a budget issue.  After all, there’s an assumption that those who work for a business know it inside and out.  The team should be able to carry out a completely successful software project just fine.  But a successful team requires the right people, with executive buy-in and decision-making power to get the job done. This could mean re-assigning the day-to-day responsibilities, expanding the list of stakeholders and contributors and/or teaming with an experienced consulting team.   This can be the difference between a successful rollout and failure.

 

Doing It With a Bang

The success of any ERP implementation is partly based on how quickly teams adopt the new system, so a thoroughly planned roll-out effort is critical.  But more importantly, engaging users throughout the entire ERP project is key to user adoption.  Companies that have tried a “Big Bang” adoption process by starting adoption efforts AFTER implementation are putting themselves at risk for can seriously affect solution benefits if they are not managed effectively.

 

We recommend ThinkTank’s Consensus Driven Productivity solution to help prevent these (and many other) unhappy surprises.  Our solution offers pre-configured sessions, self-guided templates and crowdsourcing activities to efficiently capture global and local requirements into repeatable templates.  In fact, our Professional Services clients estimate a time savings of 40% in gathering, processing, and consolidating required data making Consensus Driven Productivity a reality that all enterprises should embrace.