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Sooner or later, every organization using ERP software will come to realize that there is a stark difference between owning ERP software and actually owning and taking responsibility for the organizational goals and business benefits the system is meant to achieve. Without ownership from executive stakeholders and end-users, an ERP implementation will simply not achieve desired results in either the short- or the long-term.

While ERP software should serve to differentiate a business and provide competitive advantage, it has actually become quite the commodity. But when executives and end-users take ownership of an ERP implementation and play active roles to ensure the software meets expectations, the enterprise solution is more likely to bring a significant and sustained return on investment.

Following are three ways organizations can take ownership of an ERP implementation and the business goals it’s meant to achieve:

1.    Business professionals, not the IT department, should be held accountable for ERP success. ERP software is often implemented simply as a software project rather than as a business improvement project. While the IT department’s measures of success are important, true ERP success is measured by the actual business benefits achieved. The purpose of an IT department in an implementation is not to simply deliver an on-time implementation but to enable employees to more effectively create business value. Organizations should establish upfront how they will measure ERP success.

2.    The project team and executives should work together to define strategic business goals and educate the user community on how the ERP software supports these goals. Creating an organizational change management plan will help end-users take ownership of their roles within the implementation and help them understand both how their individual business processes are part of an integrated whole as well as how each process is important to the operation of the business.

3.    The entire organization must understand how accurate data drives business benefits. One of the main reasons businesses implement ERP software is to improve data management and business intelligence. Although, this goal may be clear at the beginning of the project, decision-makers quickly realize that software must be implemented as more than a transactional recording system in order to provide usable data and valuable insight. When decision-makers and end-users take ownership of data management, the organization is less likely to suffer from uncertainty due to inaccurate and unusable data.

Any organization can own ERP software. Only some organizations are prepared to own and take responsibility for the implementation steps necessary to achieve ERP success. To learn more about maximizing ERP benefits realization, download chapter seven of An Expert’s Guide to ERP Success.