Implementing ERP solutions is a big commitment for all businesses. While most companies understand the competitive and functional benefits of centralizing industry operational data, business leaders fear losing time and resources to a new technology solution that doesn’t work as expected.
If ERP software doesn’t function as the company hoped, the problem likely lies in the implementation process. Project Management Times said most ERP failures occur during the early stages of adoption. To avoid the usual pitfalls, a company needs to form an ERP implementation team headed by a project manager.
An ERP implementation leader is responsible for keeping the project on track. The individual placed in charge of the project must be committed and have good organizational prowess, patience and other useful skills.
Goals and schedules
Selecting the right goals is essential for proper ERP implementation. A company must gain insight from every stakeholder about their needs and expectations. Project Management Times advised small businesses to keep expectations feasible. A company may not need to use every feature ERP solutions offer. The implementation team should focus on key requirements for success.
After establishing goals for performance, it’s time to create a realistic timeline. A thorough implementation process needs plenty of time. Schedules should include past performance auditing, ERP training and testing. Benchmarks have to be visible to all team members, but the project leader is responsible for hitting go-live dates and reporting how expectations were met at every step.
Most small businesses don’t have the resources to create a steering committee solely devoted to implementation. A project leader and team will likely have to balance adoption procedures with regular daily activities.
ITtoolbox recommended finding an employee who has shown an excellent history of multitasking and coordination when selecting a project manager. A small business doesn’t want to overburden a valuable staff member with implementation on top of daily performance. If possible, the project manager should have time in his or her schedule for ERP-focused activities along with usual duties. Choosing an employee who can balance both sets of tasks is essential for success.
The project leader is in charge of making sure everything moves forward, but schedules and benchmarks may have to change as ERP solutions are implemented. When it comes time to make decisions or shift management approaches, an ERP leader has to be ready to take responsibility.
Sometimes decisions can be too big or implementation teams are unable to agree on the best course of action. ERPsoftware360 said companies need an executive sponsor for all important projects. Implementation must be supported at the very top to demonstrate business commitment to new solutions. When implementation hits a major obstacle, the team should consult the executive sponsor to make sure alternative strategies are still in the company’s best interest.
An open line of dialogue between all implementation team members is key to consistent progress. All stakeholders should communicate how they feel about the adoption process, voice concerns or report success. The project manager is at the center of this communication process and should facilitate its action.
Project managers should check in with employees who use the software, project members, executive sponsors and the ERP consultant the company works with. Anytime a major update occurs, the project manager is responsible for ensuring every stakeholder is aware of changes and listening to opinions on developments. Before implementation begins, a project manager should speak with representatives from each department and facilitate complete involvement in changing procedures.
Select the right partner
An ERP provider that also functions as an implementation partner is a great asset for project managers. Some small businesses need an ERP consultant that can act as the main project leader; others may want the provider to offer an individual who will work in tandem with the company’s project manager.
When shopping for ERP software, the company has to weigh a possible partner’s commitment to implementation success. Company heads should consult the project manager on which options he or she prefers working with.
ERP consultants provide experience. They are aware of the usual obstacles that occur during an implementation process. An ERP partner who stays in constant communication with a project manager is a great asset. The two working together create an informed, responsible and invested project management team.