iStock_000020614256MediumOver the years, our team has had the good fortune of working with some of the world’s most innovative and well-respected companies in the world. Within our portfolio of 300+ client organizations, two have been featured as case studies of effective innovation in Clayton Christensen’s classic book The Innovator’s Dilemma.

The fact that these innovation-minded organizations hired us to manage their ERP initiatives begs an important question: how do innovative companies manage their ERP implementations differently than more average organizations? Not surprisingly this is because they manage their projects much differently than most.

Here are three ways that innovative ERP implementations differ from the norm:

1.   They aren’t overly concerned with hard and fast budgets and timeframes. This may sound like blasphemy to the CFOs reading this entry, but this is an important differentiator for innovative versus average implementations. While the average company sticks to their budget and project plan come hell or high water, more innovative companies recognize that there’s a lot that they don’t know when they first establish their project plans and budgets. In addition, these advanced companies also recognize that flexibility is important to achieving truly leapfrog improvements to their business models.

Advanced ERP software functionality such as advanced mobility and analytics typically does not get implemented until later in the implementation cycle. Unfortunately, most companies run out of the time and money required obtain these advanced functions, but more innovative organizations ensure that they find the resources to implement these important business processes.

2.   They are more likely to explore creative and alternative implementation strategies. According to our 2014 ERP Report, most ERP implementations deploy a phased strategy rather than a big-bang approach. While this may be no surprise to most, the innovative-minded companies we have worked with tend to explore more creative and effective ways to implement their ERP systems. For example, some will deploy a more iterative, agile implementation approach rather than more typical waterfall methodologies. These agile approaches can enable quicker realized functionality when compared to more standardized approaches.

3.   They focus on post-implementation benefits realization. While most companies implement ERP systems for technology sake or are forced to because their legacy systems have become outdated, more innovative organizations tend to have more business-focused justifications that drive their overall ERP implementations. This philosophy helps direct the focus of the project team throughout the implementation, such as how they handle business process management and organizational change management.

This business focus shows how their ERP systems are managed after implementation. Forward-thinking organizations define specific performance measures and target levels of performance that they expect to see from their ERP implementations. This disciplined approach is more likely to translate to tangible and measurable business benefits in the long-term.

Innovative companies may not find their ERP implementations to be slam-dunk easy wins, but they do tend to be more effective and successful in their initiatives. Learn more by downloading An Expert’s Guide to ERP Success.

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