Increasing competition in the marketplace leads companies to consider new ways of working that would better optimize resources and improve the company’s profitability. The implementation of an ERP system would assist companies in gaining that competitive advantage however clients should examine several key areas that will determine the success of the implementation:
Project Organization – Ensuring that the project organization is clearly defined having a formalized structure between the client team and service provider team. The following components should be considered when determining the project organization:
- Project Sponsors
- Steering Committee
- Project Team – Joint ownership between the Client and Service Provider Project Managers.
- Sub Teams – Made up of Client Key Users and Service Provider functional consultants.
Client Team – Requires a client’s time and commitment to the project which is not always readily available due to the day to day operational needs. The people selected should have the necessary expertise in the business operations related to the functionality to be implemented. The most efficient implementations happen when clients allow client team members to work full-time on the implementation project.
Knowledge of the implemented system – The people involved in the project should have a clear understanding of the features and capabilities of the system upon Go Live. The expectations of the systems should be clearly mapped out and reviewed throughout the implementation so that adjustments can be made as necessary. Examples of categories that could be improved upon implementing an ERP system are:
- Client experience
Implementation Plan - The plan needs to take the availability of client resources into account. The plan should also contain the time-frame of each phase and their respective deliverables according to the project’s objectives.
Project Meetings – These meetings can be used to provide a platform for team members to provide their input. The meetings should always have an agenda planned. The following meetings should take place throughout the project lifecycle:
- Steering Committee Meetings – at a minimum, these should be held monthly, but during the major activities of the implementation, should be held bi-weekly in order to stay on top of issues and decisions to be made.
- Project Team Meetings – at a minimum these should be held weekly, but during periods of high project activity, could be held twice per week.
- Sub-Team Meetings – at a minimum these should be held weekly, but during periods of high project activity, could be held twice per week.
Implementation Room – A room dedicated to the project helps keep team members’ focus on the task at hand and away from their day to day operational responsibilities.
Training – A good training plan is required to ensure knowledge is shared throughout. Training would be used to create valid test scenarios when preparing to “Go Live”.
List of Processes and Tasks – System users should create a list of processes and tasks that are performed on a day to day basis. This should be an exhaustive list that needs to be analysed in order to understand the changes that the new system would bring.
Testing – This will help reinforce what was learned in training whilst also ensuring that they will be ready to perform their tasks using the new system when it goes live. Test scenarios should be developed according to the functions originally defined in the ‘List of Processes and Tasks’.
Testing should include the following:
- System Testing
- User acceptance testing
- Mock Go Live
Following this methodology will go a long way toward ensuring success in your ERP implementation.