Implementing a new Enterprise Business solution can be a complex, time-consuming and expensive task. With potential delays and costly consequences lurking around every corner it’s easy to see why 55-75% of all projects fail to meet their objectives.
In this video, Gerry Booth, Professional Services Director at Maginus, outlines 3 helpful tips to avoid a failed IT project. Gerry has over 25 years’ experience delivering global Business Change Management (BCM), business strategy and process transformation with companies such as JDA, Torex and GlaxoSmithKline. Keep reading to find out our advice on how you can mitigate the risk of a failed enterprise project.
Once the decision has been made to implement a new ERP system, many organisations don’t do enough planning before they start. Failing to outline your requirements early-on can lead to confusion down the line when current processes aren’t fully understood. Organisations unhappy with their current systems are often convinced that the problem lies in their software’s reporting, integration or other functional inefficiencies, when it might be simpler (and more cost-effective) to carry out an upgrade.
It’s vital to ensure that the entire organisation from “the top-down” understand the reasons, need and strategy behind a business-change project.
Implementing a new ERP system will impact virtually every department within your business (the most commonly underestimated departments include Finance, Accounting and Human Resources etc). It’s important that the business views the project, “not just as an IT project, but as a strategic led, business project” and that you communicate the impact this will have to different stakeholders within the business.
Articulate the need for change – It’s important to develop a clear picture of how the organisation will benefit from the new system and articulate the need to change – and it's equally important to articulate what will happen if you don’t change system. Without building a consensus here, you may face resistance to change, or core project teams won’t place the required resource or commitment to the project.
Clarify Roles and Responsibilities – Before the project begins, hold a kick-off meeting to set expectations, clarify roles and responsibilities. Determine who the key project sponsor is from the start. This person will be responsible for believing in the project and driving it forward and ultimately, this is where the buck stops – the said sponsor must have the responsibility and authority to remove any potential barriers to success.
Full-time Client Side / Vendor Side Project Management – As the project develops, new implementations increasingly become about handling business change, conflict resolution and stakeholder management. Your PM should be aware of the political climate within the company and have the appropriate soft skills to be able to position their project in the best light to ensure the project’s a success. It’s important to demonstrate both product and sector knowledge in order to build trust and relationships.
It’s important that when you’re choosing a potential ERP partner that you carry out the proper due diligence. You shouldn’t be restricted by your partner’s lack of capabilities or experience. If the company carrying out the installation aren’t up to scratch, then the process is often fraught with difficulties and can become costly to get it ‘right’ later on.
In all cases, you should never be stung by a lack of skills, experience or poor project management.
Find an Experienced Partner – Find a partner that has proven experience of working within your industry and your ERP / eCommerce platform of choice. They should have complete understanding of the modules and functionality available to enable you to automate as many business processes as possible.
Carry Out Due Diligence and Ask for References - Request the names for at least 3 companies who you can contact and discuss; the software, functionality, quality of the software vendor, and more importantly their war stories.
...What challenges have they experienced? How did they overcome these? In addition you’ll want to know the quality of other services such as support, role-based training and project management. If the ERP vendor refuses to provide at least 3 references, our advice - walk away.
Avoid Becoming the Guinea Pig - Just as you wouldn’t be comfortable with a surgeon carrying out brain surgery on you as their first or second patient. Implementing an enterprise business solution is equally life threatening to your business. As such, your internal and external project leaders ought to have experience of implementing your system several times over. This is one of the benefits of working closely with an experienced software vendor.
Do Your Homework – You can avoid excessive customisation if you choose an ERP system that meets your requirements. Our advice would be to find a solution that (in its vanilla state) meets 80-90% of your business needs. You’ll need a solution that is flexible and enough to be modified – leaving 10%-20% for bespoke customisations.
Establish a Strong Cultural Fit – Culture is key to establishing and maintaining the client / vendor relationship and is a great way to build trust. An implementation is, after all, a people-based and business-based decision that can take months and years, with consultants and teams working side by side for extended periods of time. Like any relationship, it’s important that both teams share the same values and work culture. For example, a collaborative, open and honest partner may not work so well with a highly hierarchical or corporate culture and vice versa. Getting the ‘right fit’ is probably the least concrete piece of advice we can give but it should not be under-estimated - if you’re able to find chemistry and a strong cultural fit between teams, this undoubtedly plays a part in the overall success of the implementation. The closer the teams, the easier it will be to implement a new system that is dealt with at a strategic level.
Download our free report, "10 Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing an Enterprise Solution".
With the entire cultural, financial and day-to-day management of the business at stake – it’s important that all possible steps are taken to minimise risk, and make your implementation process as smooth as possible. For more helpful tips download, “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing an Enterprise Solution”.
In this report you’ll discover: