One of the success factors of a smooth ERP implementation are the people you involve in the project. Your organization may have chosen a great ERP system, but if your whole organization isn’t engaged and committed, your ERP implementation will not be successful. To ensure your ERP implementation succeeds, some of the “key players” you’ll want to involve are listed below:
Let’s start at the top. Every successful ERP implementation project needs an engaged executive team. They must be ready and willing to take on the responsibility of ushering in wide-scale changes within the organization. They not only need to kickoff the project, they must also remain active participants.
It’s important to have an executive sponsor for your ERP implementation. This team member will be the point person at the executive level, and is typically a member of the executive team as well. This person will serve as an active leader, heavily involved in the implementation process, giving guidance when difficult decisions arise. This person not only lends their voice to the project, they also actively support everyone involved in the implementation process. The executive sponsor will encourage employee buy-in by displaying unwavering commitment to the ERP implementation.
2. IT Team
To ensure the success of your ERP implementation, your IT team needs to be empowered to take charge and help as necessary. Your IT team will be essential, not just in implementation, but also in maintaining your ERP system. As project coordinators, it is important to ensure your IT team is in the loop throughout the process. Communication and coordination are key. Beyond this, the ERP implementation process should be a collaborative endeavor, where your IT team is heavily involved. If your IT team is lacking in the skills or knowledge necessary to handle this responsibility, consider training opportunities to bring them up to speed.
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3. Change Agents
Change is hard. When implementing a new ERP system, your business can expect to see a lot of change. This is why having “change agents,” or team members across the organization who support your ERP implementation strategies and goals is vital to your success. Change agents can be any part of the project management team. The most important change agent is the project manager leading the ERP implementation process. This point person should be an experienced project manager, capable of leading the project management team and demonstrating accountability and transparency.
Change agents are also the team members responsible for communicating goals and ERP project status updates to the larger organization. These change agents are energetic about sharing the goals of your new ERP system within the company. They also realize how the organization will benefit from the ERP system. Change agents create hype and excitement. They can also help diffuse rumors or negative perceptions since they are accessible and willing to answer questions.
4. Training Team
Other change agents are the team members responsible for training. They often take on the role of the “super user.” For your ERP implementation to be successful, employees must not only buy into the change, they must also know how to make the most of the new system. In this regard, training opportunities are paramount. Super users might host workshops or provide personalized instruction and assistance to ensure employees are ready and able to operate the new ERP system. While super users don’t replace formal training, they make it comfortable for coworkers to ask questions.
5. ERP Consultant
An independent ERP consultant can be a smart addition to your team. A consultant will often see trends or risks before other members of the team, since they are not caught up in day-to-day activities. Often, teams with previous experience implementing an ERP system, may have a false sense of security. The world of ERP software is dynamic and ever changing. An ERP consultant can help navigate both software and people issues.