When you spend years deeply involved in hundreds of ERP software implementations, it stands to reason that consistent patterns would develop across successful implementations and failed projects.
Attention to these common components helps realize a successful implementation project.
1. Create an Achievable Plan
As the adage goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Therefore you should always have a project plan to follow. When developing the project plan, one must recognize a common mistake – making the project too broad by bringing together ALL requirements for ALL business activities into a single big-bang go live. The result is a project with a very long time frame and high complexity, leading to:
High likelihood of team member turnover
Longer time to realize any ROI
Probability of other business changes derailing the project.
The solution is to break your deployment into phases, making each phase as small as possible.
This will give you a faster ROI, invigorate the team as they see real results impacting the business, and make it easier to continue later phases due to the earlier success.
If you are already running disconnected legacy systems, then the phasing becomes obvious; simply replace each system one by one. If however, you are running a legacy ERP system, you are forced to replace the functionality that it provides today in a larger Phase I, but move to additional feature/ functionality in later phases that your legacy system doesn’t have but the new software offers. These may be add-on modules such as CRM or forecasting, or core functionality new for your group, such as scheduling or quality management.
2. Choose the Right Leader
An ERP implementation is a team activity, and like any team activity there must be a leader. Your project leader is a fundamental key to your success and needs the qualities any good leader possesses:
Knows your organization
3. Provide Management Support
Your implementation team will spend a great deal of time on the ERP project, meaning they will be called away from their regular duties. Top management must recognize this and provide the resources necessary to make the project possible.
Supporting the implementation effort goes beyond providing resources. It also includes emotional support for the team in the form of cheerleading and validation for their efforts. This means management must be available for key decisions and the ability to act quickly to remove roadblocks such as waiting time for decision making that can cause the project to lag.
4. Right Team
In every organization we’ve worked with, managers and key employees are the busiest people in the place. Yet these are the same people that need to be on your implementation team: the people who know the business best and have a stake in the project’s success.
The mistake is allowing these key people to delegate their role on the project to a lower level employee, believing that employee will be able to relay to them what is happening and adequately take their place. That is never the case, and the project suffers for lack of the key person’s involvement.
Choose the right team – one that has your best interests at heart and the knowledge of your business to make the right decisions.
We all get busy doing our jobs, and it’s easy to hope someone else will pick up the project. This is a certain path to failure. Properly teeing up the team to understand their roles and responsibilities in the implementation is critical. Each member must own his or her area and recognize that they have the ultimate responsibility for the decisions made that determine how their area will use the new system.
6. Experienced Consultants
Your employees are experts at their jobs, not at implementing ERP. Nor, with rare exception, are they experts in the ERP system you have selected. Bringing in such experts, both in implementation methodologies and the ERP system, will not only speed your implementation time but also help ensure that you are deploying best practices. Good implementation consultants will save you multiples over their cost in a faster, smoother and more successful implementation.
At LogicData, our 30 year success implementing ERP systems comes from the key points outlined above. Along with our implementation methodology and software that fits your business, our experience and knowledge ensure that we have never and will never have a failed implementation for any client.
Please let us know how we can make you more successful.