While, business process management (BPM) is a key component of ERP success, most ERP consultants aren’t well-versed in this competency or don’t dedicate enough time to it during implementation.
The majority of organizations don’t realize expected business benefits from their ERP implementations. Business processes are either not well-defined prior to the technical implementation of the software, or organizations simply “pave the cowpaths” in a rush to finish the project on time. In other words, organizations struggle in their business process reengineering efforts, which typically leads to project delays, budget overruns and lost business benefits.
Our 2014 ERP Report outlines the financial impact of weak business process reengineering. In addition, a poll on our website asks participants to select the component that they believe to be most important to ERP implementation success. The results at the time of this blog reveal that “well-designed processes and workflows” is the #3 most important success factor, after organizational change management and executive buy-in and support.
Given the importance of business process management and consultants’ lack of focus in this area, it is important for your organization to identify consultants who understand this key success factor. Following are three questions to help you find the right ERP consultants to address your business process management needs:
1. What business process reengineering methodology do you use? There is a big difference between the gunslinger approach to business process reengineering versus a more predictable and repeatable approach. No one person can possibly be an expert in all functional areas, such as supply chain, manufacturing, finance and sales and marketing, so your consultant should have a strong methodology that enables the team to leverage a more extensive knowledge base. When digging into this area, it is important to understand the specific processes your consultants will follow, see specific templates that will be used and view sample deliverables. It is also helpful to know whether the methodology incorporates aspects of Six Sigma and Kaizen principles of improvement.
2. What relevant industry and cross-industry experience does your team have? It’s important that your BPM consultants have a good understanding of your industry. It’s just as – if not more – important to look for cross-industry experience that will augment industry knowledge with best practices from other industries. Many of our manufacturing clients love the fact that we have extensive experience in the manufacturing and distribution industry, but they also appreciate the fact that we bring accounting best practices from our experience in the financial services industry – as well as repair and maintenance best practices from the oil and gas industry. Experienced business process consultants are able to optimize and improve business processes regardless of the industry.
3. How do you help “operationalize” business processes you define? Business process reengineering should be much more than a nice Visio diagram. It’s one thing to define a business process at a conceptual level and a much different thing to implement that process. Your ERP consultant should be well-versed not only in reengineering best practices and cross-industry best practices, but they should also know how to manage those changes from an organizational change management perspective. Effective organizational change management and implementation of new business processes should include training, employee communication, change impact analysis, benefits realization and a host of other activities critical to making the changes “real” within the organization.
Finding an ERP consultant that meets all three of the above criteria is no easy feat. Even the best business process management consultants may not have the “soft” skill sets required for organizational change management. Don’t sell yourself short and settle on the same ERP consultants that have contributed to so many failures in the past. The ideal ERP consultant has a team, methodology and toolset that address both organizational change and business process management.
Learn more by registering for our on-demand webinar, Business Process Management: A Critical Success Factor of ERP Implementations on August 21.