Published on the 16/03/2015 | Written by Hayden McCall
Embarking on a journey to implement a new ERP system is a major challenge in any business. Hayden McCall spoke to three professionals with a combined 60 years of ERP evaluation and delivery experience across multiple projects, and presents an abridged version of the conversation...
With today’s reliance on technology, the consequences of getting a new ERP system wrong can ultimately determine future success or failure.
ERP implementations are by their very nature lengthy and complex with significant risks that need mitigation. One of the strongest themes to come out of the discussion was the imperative to understand existing processes while also planning the desired or ‘could be’ future state. Businesses need to identify the intricacy of how things actually work in a day to day setting, versus how they should work, in order to better resolve how they could work. Such analysis lays the platform that subsequent success with software selection and project delivery relies upon.
The other strong theme was the need for the whole organisation to have visibility over the project so individuals can understand the reasoning behind the change and embrace the project objectives long before go-live.
Without seeking to be self-serving, the panel was in consensus that the input of experienced independent practitioners to guide the client through the justification, planning, analysis, selection and implementation phases is vital to success.
I strongly recommend engaging specialists who really know the market, who deal with the vendors, deal with the partners all the time. That ‘warts and all’ knowledge is invaluable.
- Make sure the business case properly addresses the organisational impact, and takes a medium to long term view. Don’t prepare it and shelve it once approved, let it live and act as a resource that informs the project and holds leadership to the expectations that have been set.
- Senior management need to demonstrate their commitment and not just verbalise it. They need to foster resilience inside an experienced team that understands how the business really works, and is prepared to go the extra mile.
- Use the leverage you have with vendors before you sign the contract. Don’t try to be too prescriptive, be open to change and explore alternatives.
- Recognise when skills don’t exist in house, and engage specialists who can lean on previous experience to navigate teams through challenges.
- Keep vendors honest and accountable for what they commit to – record demos and insist that contracts reflect commitments made, and that the people assigned are suitably qualified to both understand your business and deliver the solution.
- Preparing for change takes dedicated and focused resources, don’t underestimate what it takes to encourage change. Keep an open door to the wider business, invite and encourage their participation, and celebrate successes with them.
- And, lastly, a comment that says a lot more than just the words it uses – remember: “It’s just the start once you go-live.”
The expert panel consisted of Jamon Johnston, director & owner of Solution Minds based in Perth, Barry Carruth, managing director of Probity Consulting in Auckland and Wellington, and Greg Thompson, succession of architecture director at Present Group, also based in Perth. Together they represent a combined 60 years of ERP selection and implementation experience across multiple industries and solutions.
Read the full white paper An expert guide to selecting and implementing ERP solutions