What I do: ERP SuccessOctober 8, 2015 . .
As a project manager and technology consultant, I’ve spent most of my life helping companies select and implement new technologies. I find it incredibly satisfying to help build systems that help companies solve problems, become more efficient or get ready to scale. Over the last several years I’ve spent most of my time working in the world of ERP.
Those three letters bring fear to many business leaders – and rightly so. ERP projects are extremely high risk and have a massive failure rate … but they don’t have to.
The benefits of a well-implemented ERP solution can be a game changer to your business. Imagine lower inventory levels, streamlined processes, higher on-time deliveries, knowing the status of every order and clear cash flow management.
How do you reduce the risks of an ERP project? Here are some key strategies:
Know what good looks like
Like any project, it’s important all stakeholders to understand the goals of the system and what success looks like. According to Panorama Consulting’s 2015 ERP report, 58% considered their ERP project to be a success, 21% a failure and 21% “I don’t know”. Clear goals and success metrics give the team something to aim for.
ERP is complete business re-engineering, not an IT project
Start with the right mind-set. You’re not just implementing a software project – you’re implementing massive process change across the entire organization. The software is just the new tool your team will use. With that in mind, the entire company becomes stakeholders in the project and change management is … everything.
Your company should be unique, not your business processes
The number of times I’ve heard a company say its business process are unique is mind-boggling. Unique business processes are harder to manage and less efficient. What happens when you hire someone new? Using a relatively standard process they can jump right in. With a unique one, they have to spend time learning how to do their job.
With an ERP solution, standard business processes usually translate to out-of-the-box functionality, maybe with minor workflow adjustments to optimize their systems. Unique business processes often mean customization, which is expensive, hard to maintain and a major risk for your project.
ERP is one of the biggest projects you will undertake
If you want a successful implementation, you need strong project management and leadership. At the same time, expect that implementing the new ERP will take a significant amount of internal resources.
There are (literally) thousands of tasks to manage and decisions to make during the implementation process. Your subject matter experts may be busy 25-50% of their time with the ERP implementation!
Having a well-managed project dramatically improves your ERP’s success level.
Mike is a problem solver, technology guru and project superhero. As a partner at Incrementa Consulting, his focus is on leveraging technology and great processes to grow your business. You can connect with Mike on Twitter or read more of his thoughts on the Incrementa website or MikeKnapp.ca.