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Most organizations that have experienced a failed ERP implementation would agree that stakeholder alignment matters – a lot. A lack of end-user buy-in and executive support can lead to ERP failure but organizations that make stakeholder alignment a top priority are less likely to experience duration and budget overruns.

Creating a strong business case that outlines project goals and objectives can provide your organization with a clear understanding of the path ahead. Involving project stakeholders in the development of this plan is essential. Following are three tips for organizations that would like to better understand stakeholders’ needs and interests as they relate to the organization’s ERP implementation:

1.   Develop a strong organizational change management plan. Behind every successful ERP implementation is a knowledgeable project manager who understands the importance of communication. This project manager will assign key project team members to the task of developing and executing a comprehensive organizational change management initiative that includes a change impact assessment, training program and communications plan.

2.   Ask important questions. A change impact assessment can help organizations gauge stakeholders’ attitudes towards the changes wrought by a new ERP system. Process changes and role changes are often met with more resistance if end-users do not feel like they’ve had a say in the planning process. Executives need to have a say in the planning process as well because significant process changes rarely happen from the ground up.

3.   Listen to the answers. After conducting a change impact assessment, organizations should take stakeholders’ opinions into account when developing an implementation plan. These opinions can provide insight into the specific benefits that stakeholders hope new ERP software will bring and help inform how project success should be measured.

ERP success does not simply mean an on-time implementation with few technical glitches. ERP success means an ERP implementation that delivers the benefits end-users, executives and project teams expect. While a new ERP system may not make everyone happy, reaching a consensus among stakeholders with multiple viewpoints can maximize buy-in and ERP system usage.

Learn more by downloading our whitepaper, A Guide to Increasing User Acceptance of ERP Systems.