Yesterday’s Super Bowl demonstrated the reasons why it’s one of America’s most popular sporting contests and one of the most viewed events in the world. You had the pre-game hype, massive snowstorms in the host city, a matchup between two great teams, and, of course, great commercials for all the non-football fans.

As we saw yesterday, offense is one key to winning in American football. However, one could argue (and many analysts and bloggers already have) that the key to winning in football in general is great defense and a good running game.  While more high-octane and more risk-tolerant offenses may be exciting to watch, it gets you nowhere without a great defense and solid running game, as the Packers demonstrated last night.  Running the ball controls the clock and minimizes the risk of turnovers, while defense ensures that the other team doesn’t score on you. Even though the Packers didn’t run much in yesterday’s game, they took an early lead with a scoring defense, while the Steelers used the running game to make it close and turned the ball over multiple times when they tried the high-octane offensive approach.

The beauty of this lesson is that it doesn’t have to end now that the football season is officially over – it also applies to ERP systems. During ERP implementations, it is tempting to take the high-octane offensive playbook from football: shoot from the hip like any good gunslinging project manager can, aggressively push the team to hit aggressive milestones, and plow through tasks on the project plan to get the thing done. However, as with these and any other approach, the offensive approach only gets you so far, as things can and will get tough at some point on your ERP project. Just as Aaron Rodgers needed a strong defense to support his team’s offensive attack, CIOs and project managers need a solid defensive effort as well.

For example, risk management is a good analogy for a good defense; it helps watch and defend against the competition, which in this case is the headwind, resistance, and risk that affects any implementation. It helps ensure that external factors are mitigated, such as employee resistance and unclear business processes.

Similarly, creating a business blueprint and executing a comprehensive and effective organizational change management plan is like running the ball. It’s a bit slower moving, takes longer, and isn’t as flashy or as much of an adrenaline rush as the go for broke implementation plan, but it drastically increases the odds of winning.  It provides a methodical and structured way to ensure that the implementation addresses the business process and organizational issues that are the most significant risks to every ERP software initiative.

So as you’re recovering from the excitement of the Super Bowl, be thinking about how you can apply lessons from Super Bowl Sunday to your ERP system implementation. Learn more about our ERP business blueprint and organizational change management services.

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