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ERP implementations provide a variety of lessons that can be applied to any organization or situation – regardless of the industry. ERP implementations in the oil and gas industry are no exception, providing a fertile learning ground for any organization about to embark on an enterprise software project.

The complexity of business operations is one of the more interesting aspects related to organizations in the oil and gas space. They typically have far-flung assets and employees to manage, have the need to track geospatial data and are heavily focused on maintenance and repair operations, all of which add to the complexity of their operations.

These complexities, in turn, translate to potential ERP implementation challenges and lessons learned.

Below are three common lessons from our experience with oil and gas ERP implementations:

1.     Don’t rule out best-of-breed ERP systems. Companies in the oil and gas space are often hard-pressed to find single ERP systems that meet all of their business requirements. Even tier I solutions, such as SAP and Oracle, aren’t able to be everything to everyone and aren’t always able to handle more complex business processes, such as maintenance, repair, asset management and the geospatial data requirements. For these reasons, it is common for oil and gas organizations to seek out multiple, best-of-breed solutions that can effectively handle their diverse business operations. Companies in other industries, such as manufacturing, engineering or services firms, can benefit from this approach as well.

2.     Clearly define your “to be” business processes. With complex business processes comes an even greater need to clearly define and document “to-be” business processes. More diverse business processes typically translate to more business process reengineering opportunities – along with the risk of overlooking critical aspects of these business processes. With this in mind, it is imperative that companies with unique, diverse or relatively complex business operations spend more time defining how their business processes will look in the future. Organizations in similar situations should remember not to fall for the “let the software reengineer the business for us” trap. Instead, your business processes should drive how the software will ultimately be configured during implementation.

3.     Remember that organizational change management will make or break your ERP implementation. The operational complexities outlined above typically result in more significant changes for employees. While organizational change management is critical for any ERP implementation, it is especially important for organizations with more substantial business process and “people” changes. In order to address these changes, a comprehensive organizational change management plan should include all the major components required for change, including training, communications, organizational readiness and benefits realization. Click through to learn more about the essential components of an effective organizational change management plan.

While these lessons may sound specific to the oil and gas sector, they can and should be applied to every industry. Every company has unique complexities to consider during implementation, so these tips should help your organization’s ERP project as well.

Learn more by reading a case study of one of our oil and gas clients.