In 2008, Panorama Consulting Group completed a survey of companies that were engaged in or had completed an ERP implementation. From 1,300 responses we compiled a list of eight traits found in successful ERP implementation.

Trait # 1 – Focus on Business Process and Requirements

  • Understand how your business operates
  • Define and prioritize your key business requirements
  • Business requirements should be defined during selection and refined throughout implementation
  • Don’t overemphasize the software’s technical capabilities if they are not aligned with your needs

Trait #2 – Focus on Achieving a Positive ROI

  • Develop a specific and comprehensive business case prior to committing to an ERP solution
  • Business benefits should be at least as tangible as the defined solution cost
  • Establish key performance measures
  • Set baselines and targets for key performance measures
  • Track post-implementation performance

Trait #3 – Project Management and Resource Commitment is Key

  • Have a strong project manager to support and participate in the project
  • Leverage experienced resources including Subject Matter Experts
  • Develop strong project controls
  • Implement a Risk Management Plan with mitigation steps
  • Conduct ongoing phase reviews throughout implementation

Trait #4 – Secure Executive Commitment

  • Support at the CEO level isn’t enough. There must be vigorous support from all management members including the head of the IT department
  • Establish regular project reviews with executive or steering committee members

Trait #5 – Take Time to Plan

  • Make sure you do it right, don’t just launch the project
  • Take time to validate the software vendor’s implementation plan and their understanding of your business requirements
  • Budget time to thoroughly test new business processes, security roles, customizations, etc.
  • The more time you spend planning the less time and money you will spend later
  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate to employees and other stakeholders

Trait #6 – Focus on Data Migration Early

  • Define a data migration strategy up front including master (Customer, Vendor, Product) and transactional (Open PO, Open Invoice) data
  • Communicate data migration plans
  • It’s never too early to begin scrubbing and mapping data
  • Migrated data should be thoroughly verified during Conference Room Pilots and testing
  • Remember what happens to “garbage data”
  • Don’t forget to plan for historical data and archival and access of data not being migrated

Trait #7 – Provide Adequate Training and Change Management

  • ERP implementations involve significant change for the whole organization, including employees. Plan accordingly.
  • Training, change management and job design are critical for successful ERP implementations
  • ERP functional training should focus on business work flows rather than transactions. Don’t forget technical training.
  • Train-the-trainer is a tried and true approach that embeds knowledge into the organization

Trait #8 – Know Why You Are Implementing An ERP System

  • Don’t blindly follow what others did in their implementations
  • Clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish with your ERP implementation
  • Have clearly defined goals and objectives
  • Look for lessons learned from successful and unsuccessful ERP implementations

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