What Does it Take to Have a Successful ERP Implementation?
In our organization, we always measure ERP implementation projects on 4 criteria: Was it on time? Did the system meet our objectives? Was it on budget? Was it within scope?
You’ll see that these four criteria are some of the key indicators as to whether an implementation was successful.
A review of the original scope document will tell you how well the planning and design stage went, and will answer the question: Did we stick to our plan?
Forecasting budget to actual spending is another indicator of the project health. Lastly, was the project completed on time?
Five Qualities for Success
- Goal-Oriented: Identify expectations of individuals and of the team by setting obtainable objectives. Have a project plan means having firm goals and objectives, action items, accountability, and due dates. Share the project plan with the core team, and make progress known. Track progress and celebrate achieving each milestone in the process.
- Complementary Skills/Positions: Choose your implementation team with people who are multi-dimensional within the organization. Have them become subject matter experts across multiple disciplines. Cross-functionality within your organization mitigates risk and also promotes open communication and issue resolution.
- Cohesion: Work together in training, in practice, and at the go-live and beyond. Having your core team at every meeting promotes unity and reinforces that this implementation is a top priority. Not only does this build a strong, capable team, but it is a critical element to future projects including potential phase 2 and phase 3 of your implementations. Functional silos are a thing of the past, and you need everyone on the same page to eliminate dysfunction.
- Synergy: ERP systems are comprehensive, and the results they can deliver to an organization are greater than the individual effects of its parts (individual modules). Your team needs to mirror this capability in order to provide the greatest value to the company.
- Project Leadership: This is both internal and external. ERP implementations require subject matter experts and proven professionals. Learning a new software system is complex enough, on top of managing personnel and the project progress as a whole. Consultants bring years of experience and expertise to your organization, and should be brought in from the beginning of your project through go-live. When given authority, consultants can share responsibility with internal leadership in managing this project and contribute greatly to its success.