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This year’s first ERP Boot Camp was another success, with 23 participants from all over the world gathered in Denver last week to discuss lessons and best practices for their ERP initiatives. This year’s group was very diverse, including large companies from Australia and Sri Lanka, to a smaller, high-growth company in Boulder, CO, large manufacturing companies scattered across North America, and a large hospital group from Arizona.  Participants included CEOs, CIOs, project managers, and project team members.

One thing participants had in common was their interest in improving the odds for success for their ERP systems initiatives. We started the three-day session by asking each participant to name their top one to two concerns with their ERP software. Here are some of the common themes we heard in the opening session:

  • Business risk and potential disruption to operations
  • Understanding how to leverage ERP software to drive business process improvements, business growth, and standardization
  • Organizational change management
  • Realizing business benefits
  • Navigating through all the potential ERP options in the marketplace
  • Negotiating contracts with ERP vendors
  • Knowing what we don’t know about ERP

In addition to myself, we were joined by a number of ERP experts who helped present content and participated in the daily expert panel discussions. The sessions included project managers, organizational change management experts, and business process analysts from Panorama Consulting, as well as executives from software vendors such as Infor and Plex Systems.

The first day focused heavily on general concepts related to ERP systems, including 20 things every CIO should know about ERP, an overview of implementation strategies, tips to develop an ERP business blueprint, and project management strategies and frameworks.  The second day shifted gears and focused more on organizational change management and lessons from recent ERP implementation failures, while the third day focused on technical considerations and developing a business case. We wrapped the three-days with individual consulting sessions, where participants had an opportunity to do a deep dive into individualized areas of interest based on their specific needs.

As we wrapped up the group session on day three, we asked participants to identify their top takeaways from the boot camp. Some of the themes mentioned included:

  • The importance of organizational change management
  • How difficult and overwhelming ERP implementations can be
  • The importance of developing an ERP business blueprint to save time and money during implementation

While it’s impossible to learn everything there is to know about ERP in three days, participants have a strong foundation to start from after this session.  Feedback from participant surveys was extremely positive, which we will share soon. Learn more or register for our next ERP Boot Camp, which will be June 8-10 in Denver, CO.