You were appointed within your company as the responsible person for the new ERP implementation. You are considered to be stable, structured, you have an interest for software and processes, and you may even have lobbied to get a new ERP on the agenda. You have assisted in the selection process, and together with the ERP supplier you have created the complete planning. You are all set to go. This can't possible go wrong. Can it..?
I'm not going to talk about the obvious problems here, such as not meeting budgets and plannings, problems when going live, or other obvious issues which are known to cause problems during ERP implementations. Of course these are important pillars of your implementation, but a lot is written about this, also by yours truly. We are going to analyse the issues you can encounter when you are the responsible person for the ERP implementation within your organization. Since, on top of the unmistakably importance of planning and budget, the way you perform in this role can make or break your project. And therefore, it is time to sum up the 5 most important pitfalls for the ERP responsible person.
- 1. No commitment from within your organization. You thought it was an absolutely brilliant idea, selecting this new ERP system to help your organization make a leap forward. And it's totally unimaginable that somebody would think otherwise. So... The average employee is stuck in his daily routine, and believes this is taking more then enough energy as it is. Besides, we've always worked this way, where does this sudden need for change comes from? You cannot force this employee to drop his all his work and start using a new and unfamiliar product, where he doesn't see any benefit. Your job is to convince the employee of the benefits, and hopefully make him see that his life is going to be much easier. The organization as a whole needs to commit to changes, and you are the main motivator of these changes. Are you not able to motivate, then your mission is bound to fail. After all, if you of all people isn't able to convince the employees within your organization of the essence and benefits of a new ERP system, who can?
- 2. Routine is not a rule. After you've survived the first pita, and convinced everyone that this new ERP is a really good thing for the organization AND for the employee, you're definitely not there yet. The average employee simply doesn't like changes. This new IT is one thing, but actually having to change his daily routine is another step to take.
‘ We are working like this for the past 20 years. And this new software can't cope with my routines? It really has to! Really! There is no other way!'
And before you know it you spend thousands of euros to customization to make sure that the new system acts exactly the same way as the old one did. The new system was't meant to work that way, so despite all the efforts, it's never going to perform exactly as the employee wanted. And it's never going to perform in a way that it reaches it's full potential. On top of that, the costs are sky high, all budgets are consumed in flick of time, and not a single deadline is met. So: you are not allowing the organization to decide the way the new system is going to perform. Away with the old processes and routines. Let everybody say what he has to say, take every opinion seriously, but be sure that you keep the lead, and go for new concepts instead of ancient procedures. This is the only way to let your new ERP really excel, and the only way to guarantee that your new ERP is actually reaching its potential. Focus!
- 3. Mandate You succeeded in creating full commitment within your organization, and you have lined up the employees to support your mission. But, there still can be that one employee who still things this whole project is bullocks. He doesn't see any advantage, just barriers, and the fact that you are trying to convince him otherwise only results in him questioning your role and functioning. Don't be surprised if this employee planned an early meeting the next day with your CEO to tell him that: 'you are making a big mess out of this new ERP thing, no one is understanding what you are talking about, and everyone knows you are going to fail'. He's sorry he had to tell that to the CEO, but hey.. somebody had to do this. And then your CEO tells you:
‘Todd from accounting is working for us for 20 years, and he really knows what he's talking about....''
This can easily result into an early death of your ERP implementation, it wouldn't be the first time. And so: be sure to have mandate. Are you running into issues like this, be sure to have an open line with management, so they know upfront what Todd is going to tell them. And more importantly, be sure that you always have full support of your manager, and that he backs you up during the whole process. And thus, make sure that Todds breakfast meeting with the CEO doesn't last more than 5 minutes, and you never here from Todd again..
- 4. Don't change because of change When rolling out our new ERP we really like tot automate what we can automate. Everything needs to be better, quicker and more efficient. Don't get carried away, now. Of course, the goal is to implement the new ERP in the broadest sense possible. However, in some cases it's a better idea to leave some subprocesses as they are, and focus on them in a later stage. Or in fact, not even at all. Automating the full scale of processes is not necessary, and it can get in your way when trying to implement the basic procedures: the backbone of the organization.
Choose your battles.
- 5. Be a manager, not a colleague Try to create as much teamspirit as possible, but be sure to be the manager at the same time. A succesfull ERP implementation results in a higher efficiency. And doing so, it is likely that one or more employees are going to be superfluous. As a result of this, it is not unthinkable that that one enthousiastic employee who supported you all the way through the implementation process is going to be a victim at the end. So, it is important to keep your distance. It can make your life a lot easier at the end..
5 punten om over na te denken. Komt u deze punten altijd tegen? Eigenlijk komen ze elke keer weer in meerdere of mindere mate voor. En het is verstandig om deze ter harte te nemen. Garandeert een goede aandacht op deze punten dan een succesvolle implementatie? Dan komen we onder andere weer terug op waar we openden.. planning, budget, technische onhaalbaarheid, toch teveel verouderde hardware, managementwisselingen, investeringsstops, ongeplande verhuizingen, faillissement van uw leverancier, strategische wijzigingen gedurende uw project, ‘eigenlijk vind ik de cloud toch wel onveilig’, etc. Etc. Ik heb ze allemaal langs zien komen. En is er maar zoveel waar we rekening mee kunnen houden. Maar ach, dat is wat ons scherp houdt, en ons weer zin doet krijgen in het volgende project...