Getting an enterprise resource planning solution up and running is a major undertaking. Businesses need to take all of the appropriate steps. These include making sure that they’re choosing the right ERP partner for implementation, selecting the most beneficial system, setting reasonable timelines and educating staff.
To make the process easier, many organizations use an ERP implementation team to fill a variety of roles during the selection and installation phases. The team ideally includes a number of employees from different areas of a business and serves as a conduit between the company and the partner organization helping to set up the ERP software. The implementation team is a crucial part of a successful project and business leaders need to give those teams the attention and resources they require and deserve.
Here are a few pieces of advice for companies putting together an implementation team:
Include relevant, unique voices
An ERP implementation team has to function as a cross-section of a given company. A truly great team has representation not only from the departments that will be the heaviest users of such software, but from other areas of business that will be affected as well. Having this diverse group in place allows a variety of perspectives to be considered and creates a more robust dialog about the different options that are available throughout the process. These discussions aren’t all crucial to the success of a project – although many certainly are – but they are valuable as contributions to the process. With many different departments represented, different courses of action can be analyzed with confidence and the best possible solutions can be reached.
When it comes to working with an ERP partner, a diverse team is a significant asset. Depending on the information needed for installation, having quick access to many different parts of a company can make the process easier and reduce the chance for misunderstandings and delays. While a balance between representation and practical functionality has to be struck, uniqueness is certainly a good thing when it comes to an implementation team.
Have involvement from leaders
It’s not practical to have every executive or top-level leader participate in the implementation team – there’s simply too much to be done in other areas of the company. However, employees from all areas of an organization are called upon to participate in the endeavor, so it’s not out of the question to have an executive participate as well. This approach provides benefits in two distinct areas. The first is the top-level perspective that a member of the C suite can provide, helping the team understand information and handle problems with a learned mindset. The second is in appearance: Employees will see that even the highest-ranking staff members are actively participating in the project and will be less likely to raise objections when they have to go through training or start using a new system.
Provide the time needed
Being a part of the implementation team doesn’t just mean taking an extra five minutes once a week to huddle up with the other members. It’s a significant responsibility that can require many hours of time to be invested. For this reason, businesses have to work with the needs of employees who still have duties in their regular areas of operation. Planning meetings ahead of time can help alleviate many of the scheduling problems that can arise. Similarly, some flexibility on the part of supervisors and managers at times for staff who are working on a crucial part of the implementation process but also need to take care of their day-to-day tasks is valuable.