The Most Important Factor in a Successful ERP Implementation

I was flying home from a conference the other day and happened to sit next to an ERP implementation consultant … funny how that works. For the next 60+ minutes we talked about implementing systems, what goes wrong, what goes right and as a result the flight was over before I knew it.

She pointed out some key things that go wrong with an implementation including the lack of clear policy and process definition and of course the lack of sufficient training…

I came away thinking that there was an underlying reason, a more basic cause to most implementation problems. What would be at the root of the project going wrong?

To me the answer was obvious… top management buyoff, support and direction, really the first step in the implementation process.

The reason that I point this out is not to blame top management for all our troubles; it’s actually the opposite of that. As the project manager / champion its part of your job to keep top management informed and keeps them abreast of the progress and challenges of the project.

If you do this, if you keep the brass not only informed but also updated on your progress, your forward momentum, you will keep them motivated as well. Some weeks this might not be much – but always have that win in your hip pocket, always encourage them.

What is most important is that you have ongoing support where and when you need it. You know it, everyone knows it.

To be honest with you this same strategy works with subordinates as well and in many cases is even more important. There is SO much that ALL those involved in the project can offer. I could tell you stories about this … and I will, but time is short.

The bottom line result of keeping top management informed, and remember this, is that when it’s time to make the tough labor and resource decisions, the ERP implementation will be given appropriate priority. It will “stay on the radar screen” and odds are you will continue to get the support that you need.

Life is a sales job and the influence that you have on others, good or bad, rests on one person’s shoulders.

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