We recently co-hosted a webinar with another consulting firm discussing tools organizations can use to accelerate their ERP system selection and implementation process. General examples of accelerators include pre-configured industry solutions, workflow tools, and standard questionnaires that streamline the configuration process. As we opened up the session for questions and answers at the end of the session, I began to sense some skepticism among audience members on whether or not these tools from software vendors can really help speed up an implementation.
This led me to revisit a poll we had posted on our web site several weeks ago. We asked visitors to our site to share their opinion on how accelerators affect the duration of ERP implementations. Unfortunately, the poll results confirmed some of the skepticism I sensed in our webinar on the same topic: only 39% said they think accelerators can dramatically reduce implementation time. Another 59% of respondents said that they only slightly reduce implementation time, have little to no impact, or that there is no such thing as an accelerated implementation (our token response option for the cynics).
So what’s the disconnect between how ERP vendors and consultants sell their acceleration tools vs. people’s actual experience? As we outlined in a previous blog, although accelerators may speed up the software configuration process, configuration only consumes a fraction of the time and resources required in an overall ERP implementation. We estimate that no more than 20% of a project’s duration is related to configuration; the other 80% is related to key project activities such as workflow design, conference room pilots, organizational design, training, and other items.
This isn’t to say that these other project activities can’t be accelerated as well. Consultants with extensive ERP implementation and organizational change management experience may have tools, methodologies, and expertise (think Panorama Consulting Group) to help you implement faster than you might on your own or with a lesser-qualified consulting or software firm. But the ERP system accelerators offered by software vendors typically won’t materially impact the overall implementation.
What do you think? Vote or view results from our ERP system accelerators poll, or learn more about Panorama’s PERFECT Path ERP implementation framework.