Many organizations begin ERP implementation with the goal of selecting ERP software that will bring a high ROI and measurable business benefits. They soon realize the project is much more complex than they expected, and the benefits are much more elusive.
So, how do you set realistic expectations for the selection and implementation process? The first step is understanding the scope of change and the role technology will play in your ERP project. At one end of the change spectrum, technology is used to support existing processes. At the other, technology enables process redesign and supports changes to an organization’s business model.
In the latter case, technology is not the focus of the project. Instead, the project team focuses on transitioning people and processes. Before selecting technology, the organization defines a corporate strategy and technology strategy and designs new business processes to support their vision. Reengineered business processes mean new roles and responsibilities for employees. Both business process reengineering and organizational change management account for significant time, budget and resources. If you’re at the other end of the change spectrum, your expectations will look very different.
Still not sure what level of change your project entails? Ask yourself why you’re implementing new technology in the first place. Maybe you’re changing your business model or expanding into new markets. If so, your ERP project could be more aptly called a business transformation, as you will experience significant changes to not only your technology but also your people and processes.