Is there a “best practice” approach for an ERP implementation? Part 2.

The best approach to planning for a new ERP solution is to NOT consider the undertaking as an IT system implementation. Success will be measured by the improvements in performance and efficiencies achieved as a direct result of the solution that is implemented.

How do you define objectives?

Evaluation of the business processes of the entire organization is critical to identify areas to be improved or enhanced.   Implementation objectives must be adequately defined and prioritized and a “roadmap” developed.

People from each functional area of the company should be involved from the very beginning of the undertaking. These individuals should analyze and document processes that can be improved. Examples might include the integration of outlying systems, streamlining customer billing, reducing the number of “offline” spreadsheets and improving reporting.

In order to present a case for improvement, you must associate the capabilities within ERP technology to the objectives of the implementation. The business case should address the benefits to be achieved and how the system and business process changes will impact all stakeholders within the organization.

The creation of a comprehensive plan and project charter that presents each critical task with the related responsibilities and timelines are key factors for the success of the project.

What is an “A” team?

Diverse internal representation should be considered when assembling the team who will be responsible for the success of your project. Your internal resources are key to the project as they are best suited to provide valuable input during the planning, design and decision making stages of the implementation.

A-team members should come from each functional area of the company and should have extensive knowledge related to operations, customers, vendors and policies. These team members should be respected by their peers. They should exhibit drive and initiative to push the project forward and promote buy-in from all stakeholders.

Is project management important?

Project management is key to the success of any ERP implementation. Not only should your vendor assign a skilled PM to keep all the moving parts in sync, but you should select an internal project manager from within your A-Team. The project managers keep the teams working together. Effective project management will reduce communications gaps and prevent slow decision making. And by working together the internal and external project managers can oversee the project timeline to assure that critical milestones are hit.

What next? Stay Tuned for Part 3

Mitigating Resistance – Training – Testing

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