It’s one thing to establish a specific and measurable expected business benefit, but realizing the benefit requires a bit more effort. This is perhaps one of the key reasons why ERP implementations are notorious for failing to deliver measurable business value to the organizations that invest heavily in the solutions.
So what is a CIO or CFO to do? First of all, it is critical to understand the drivers of expected business benefits rather than simply quantifying them. For example, improved employee interaction is a key enabler of business benefits. Here are a few tips for creating cross-functional interactions and breaking down organizational silos:
1. Focus on business process management and ERP blueprinting. “Blueprinting,” “best practices” and “business processes” are often nebulous terms. Sure, every ERP consultant and system integrator is going to define business processes, but typically only in the context of what they need to configure the software. So when it comes to increasing operational efficiencies, creating cross-functional effectiveness and minimizing non-value-add activities, the myopic checklists and vague process diagrams of most consultants and system integrators fall woefully short. Instead, organizations need to take a top-down, holistic approach to designing and improving business processes via a robust business process management and blueprinting process.
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2. Let organizational change management methodologies make your business processes and business benefits become a reality. ERP implementations and results are only as good as the extent to which your organization adopts new business processes and enables business benefits. This is why change management is typically the deciding factor between implementation success and failure. When we talk about change management, we’re not simply referring to canned vendor training materials – we’re also referring to organizational design, communications, organizational impact assessments and a host of other change management activities required to enable cross-functional interaction.
3. Alignment between your ERP system, business processes and organizational behaviors. It amazes me how often we see ERP implementations that are completely misaligned with an organization’s business processes and employee use of the system. Sure, ERP systems typically work brilliantly from a technical and functional perspective, but they are typically misaligned with the operational and organizational aspects of the business. Careful business process design, change management, and a thorough implementation methodology are just a few success factors required to address this challenge.
It’s hard enough ensuring an ERP implementation doesn’t lead to bankruptcy, so imagine how hard it is for inexperienced project managers, ERP consultants and system integrators to also focus on optimizing business benefits. However, all you need to do is know how to enable the root drivers of business benefits.
The above three steps are just a few areas that Panorama’s ERP consultants leverage to make ERP implementations successful and create measurable business benefits.