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At Panorama, we write and talk a lot about the critical success factors of ERP implementations. Although organizations certainly vary across industries, and industries themselves have a large amount of differentiating concerns and requirements, when it comes to ERP — the critical success factors are surprisingly similar:

1. Pick the ERP software that matches your organization’s “to be” processes (not necessarily the processes it’s using today). This is a big one that many organizations miss. When it comes to software selection, be sure keep your eye on the future state of how the business will be run so that it might avail itself of all the incredible benefits an integrated solution can bring. Choosing an enterprise solution that matches an organization’s current state is like redoing a house before you gut it — nothing but a waste of time and money.

2. Make sure ERP vendors demonstrate their products against your organization’s specific and unique needs. If you don’t provide potential vendors a clear roadmap of your organization’s ERP requirements and desires, you run the risk of choosing software based on canned demos and industry “best practices” rather than finding one that truly suits your organization’s needs. It’s incredibly important to do your homework up front before calling in the vendors.

3. Foster alignment of purpose within the executive team. ERP failures often can be attributed, at least in part, to a lack of executive alignment and buy-in. Though certainly easier said than done, taking the time to ensure alignment within the organization’s top people will reap rewards throughout the entire project lifecycle. An ERP project that doesn’t have a unified support system will quickly founder.

4. Know what you don’t know — and get the right help to figure it out. Don’t automatically expect your staff to know how to implement an ERP system properly; chances are they don’t. Third-party consultants help with everything from selection to business process management to implementation to training to organizational change management. And the good ones, like Panorama, can jump in at any stage of the project and start sorting it out.

5. Don’t forget your people. Your employees are going to have questions, concerns and fears from the moment they start hearing the term “ERP implementation.” Now is not the time to clam up. Err on the side of too much communication. Be honest, transparent and team-oriented in your discussions with them and ask for feedback. You need their help and support to achieve ERP success, plain and simple.

Panorama is in the business of ERP success. Contact us today for more details on any of the above critical success factors, or any other issue or question related to making your ERP project reap all the business benefits it should. And don’t forget to register for one or more of our ERP webinar series — upcoming sessions include discussions on organizational change management and software selection.

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