Whether you’re a Manufacturer or Distributor, ERP Vendor or IT Consultant you’ve all heard some war stories that an ERP implementation can be a quite difficult exercise. Maybe even more difficult than say, running a marathon in the mountains, blind folded in 100-degree heat? Well, without a formal execution plan it can be just this challenging and painful and you’ll probably experience some ups and downs, stop and go’s, and some falls until you reach the finish line (go-live).
So, how can you avoid this? You can learn from others who have implemented an ERP system correctly and you can also hire an ERP consultant who has the experience and knowledge to coach you through this marathon (project).
At Ultra, our research shows that almost 75% of all ERP implementations fail to reach expectations. Why is that? Rather than focus on why ERP projects sometime fail, lets highlight four reasons why ERP projects succeed.
Four Steps for ERP Implementation Success
- Take Ownership of the Project - The highest probability of success is when all the departments/functional areas (not just IT) play a key role in this on-going 6 to 18 month project. All department heads and users must take ownership, since they will be establishing the rules of the ERP system, accessing the information, and they know how their respective business processes will be changed and improved by the new ERP software system.
- Create a Three-way Relationship – There should be a friendly and respectful relationship between all three parties involved in the relationship: the client (users), the ERP Vendor and the implementation partner. Since it is common to “resist change” sometimes there is pushback on the part of the users, which may lead to a strained relationship between the users and the vendor. This is why it often makes sense to have a third party (Implementation Partner) as a project manager or mediator to help with the education and communication among all parties.
- Motivate and Reward – This makes sense, right? Since this ERP implementation is a longer term-project, it is quite effective to have periodic rewards throughout the project for the teams (departments) involved. For example, when on-going objectives and milestones are met, these rewards could take the form as in a day off, maybe a cash bonus, public praise and recognition, and even a promotion.
- Construct a Sound Project Schedule – When there is a realistic, and a well defined schedule, the chances of a successful ERP implementation increases greatly. This schedule needs the input of all three major parties (Client, Vendor, Implementation Partner). The schedule must contain all the tasks involved, along with time-lines and who is responsible. With this schedule you can then track your progress from the starting line to finish.
In conclusion, your probability of a successful ERP project increases dramatically when studying other ERP success stories and following some key guidelines, as mentioned above. All of which are a part of your formal execution plan.