Considerations prior to starting any ERP initiative
Updated: Jul 31, 2018
Is there a compelling reason to change?
Typically, a specific event will trigger someone senior in the organization to say “we need a new ERP”. These events can range form technical issues like an outage to customer service problems that are perceived to be deficiencies with the current ERP. Additionally, the information technology leadership may be telling the business that they are struggling to keep the old ERP alive due to people to support, to vendor ending support, and potentially hardware age. The common theme to these examples as a majority of them are “technical” in nature rather than business needs. However, most ERP initiatives that actually become reality want to become or are positioned as a “business initiative”. So once a compelling event occurs, what should an organization consider prior to sanctioning any initiative to evaluate a new ERP solution?
Where are the organizational priorities?
First is honesty with yourself on whether or not you truly want to consider business change alongside your technology change, and the answer should not be assumed to be the logical “business initiative”. This decision is critical up front as the life of the entire replacement or transformation initiative should align and walk towards this view. Technically focused initiatives have a place for the right reasons. Once the organization has clarity on business vs. technical focus, you need to ensure timing is right for your organization to undertake this initiative and/or you are willing realign priorities to make this is a top 2 or 3 for entire company.
Who is the team to drive this initiative?
Provided we have focus and organizational bandwidth to handle, the leadership needs to determine how to build a team and assign leadership for the journey. Depending on the size of the initiative you should identify a set of about 3-5 key individuals to remove from their daily jobs to be fulltime part of an implementation core team. ERP initiates also require a strong and respected leader. Start with the end in mind when considering your team to be positioned as the “voice” for their function in the company. Think about your future state organization you desire post-new ERP on order to use the evaluation, business process review, and implementation to build competency within those individuals for the end game. Typically, many organizations do not come readymade with a host of experienced business process improvement consultants or technology evaluation and implementation experiences. This is where you can engage expertise from a consultancy to help guide you and build that competency as the journey moves through its natural cycles.
Have I planned realistically?
The last step in preparation is to layout a high-level timeline that ensures you can move from step 1: mobilization to step “x”: implementation without any major breaks. A project that is stalled can cause lose its momentum. An organization needs to be prepared to make an ERP initiative one of the top two business initiatives to improve the projects chances of success. If you would like more information on readiness to start, evaluation of solutions, or approaches to implementation visit our website at www.SMBERPConsulting.com.