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An ERP implementation can drastically improve the well-being of citizens by providing a positive return on citizenship (ROC). An ERP failure, on the other hand, can be detrimental to citizens. Government ERP failure is far too common, and projects have historically gone over budget by millions of dollars. A few years ago, the State of Pennsylvania went over budget by $40 million. This is pocket change compared to the New York “CityTime” project, which went over budget by an estimated $697 million – approximately 3000 new Lamborghini Huracans or enough food to feed every homeless child in New York three meals a day for six years.

While the idea of managing a billion-dollar public sector ERP Implementation is daunting, it could happen to you, and when it does, you’ll want to understand the keys to success.

Organizational change management is critical to the success of your ERP implementation. Imagine arriving at work one morning and suddenly being required to use a new ERP system without any prior knowledge to this change – you’d be confused to say the least. Now picture that on a broader scale: if an entire department is clueless about a new ERP system, your organization will encounter serious problems. Successful change management initiatives involve the entire staff, with the intention of creating excitement and enthusiasm around the ERP project. If employees feel included in the process, then they are more likely to voice concerns and recommendations, making the project manager’s job easier.

I have seen countless projects where organizations decided to overlook organizational change management and are now suffering the consequences. An ERP implementation isn’t a technical initiative but a complete organizational, cultural and operational transformation that will fail if it is not properly managed.

Training is another vital aspect of organizational change management. During many implementations, training is swept to the side because so much effort has been expended on the technical aspects of implementation. Unless your employees can magically learn the new ERP system through osmosis, training is essential.

Take a step back, and make sure that you have proper change management and training plans in order. Ensure that your project manager is qualified and not just the first person to volunteer. Finally, set a realistic project schedule – you can’t squeeze organizational change management into a six-month window. You’ll have better luck training a cat to bring in the morning newspaper.

To prevent ERP failure and increase return on citizenship (ROC), you must focus on organizational change management.

Learn more by downloading our white paper, Lessons Learned From a Government ERP Failure.

Written by David Ovitsky, Associate Business Analyst at Panorama Consulting Solutions. 

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