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Last week, we hosted our fourth ERP Boot Camp in Denver, CO. The three-day training session, which was attended by 20 CIOs, executives, project managers, and ERP project team members across the globe, covered a number of topics designed to help organizations better manage their ERP initiatives. The discussions and presentations focused on helping ERP practitioners understand the variables required to make ERP implementations successful, such as overall IT strategy, ERP selection, vendor negotiations, business cases, and organizational change management.

Prior to jumping into the content, we facilitated a session asking the attendees to introduce themselves, their organization, and their top two concerns or fears regarding their ERP initiatives. As you might imagine, this interaction is invaluable to understanding the mindsets of people attending our training and especially so when your participants come from organizations and government agencies as diverse as Boeing, Cook County, City of Charlotte and Crown Equipment, among others. In addition, it is always interesting to see and hear the common themes that participants share, regardless of industry, company size or geography.

For example, this session’s most commonly stated concern related to organizational change management and business blueprinting. On the organizational change management front, participants shared concerns with how to determine organizational readiness, manage resistance to change, and include staff members in the ERP implementation process to increase buy-in and support. In terms of business blueprinting, concerns centered on how to standardize business processes across multiple countries or departments, determine the pros and cons of adopting the functionality of the software vs. forcing the software to adopt to the business, and clearly define business processes in a way that would ensure a more business-centered implementation rather than one with a more one-dimensional software focus.

Here are some of the additional concerns that this focused and bright group of executives and team members shared during the sessions:

  • Adapting ERP software capabilities without customization
  • Vendor management, including software vendors, system integrators, and consultants
  • Risk management and mitigation
  • Implementing without disruption
  • Transitioning internal IT to support commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software
  • Implementation strategy
  • Program management, including costs and scheduling
  • Ensuring engagement at all levels in the company
  • Integrating with other systems
  • Considering the “soft” aspects of evaluating ERP vendors
  • Finding a system that can grow with the organization, including global growth
  • Distinguishing between core competencies that may need to be customized in the software and things that the organization should change to better fit the software
  • Overall implementation and approach for the entire ERP lifecycle

These were just a few of the topics that we proceeded to cover over the course of the three days. By the end of the training, attendees had a better sense of blindspots to watch for, an understanding of technology-agnostic ERP best practices, and a tool kit to apply to their ERP implementations back home. It was a very good session with very positive feedback from attendees. The lesson to be learned here is that a lot of knowledge, planning, and work goes into making ERP software initiatives successful, so it is important to proactively address the potential risks and failure points of ERP initiatives to ensure their success.

Our next ERP Boot Camp will be December 7, 8 and 9 in Denver so start planning now to ensure you can attend (and maybe sneak in a few days of skiing). If you can’t get away, please also note that we can bring Boot Camp to you and your teams with customized on-site ERP training.