ERP, a human project first and foremost!

So you’ve decided to take the leap: You’re going to enhance your management systems by buying an enterprise requirements planning system (or ERP system as the market likes to call it).

You’ve taken the time to properly define your needs by sitting down with the people responsible in your various departments to understand where you’ll be able to improve efficiency in order to cut costs and improve the products and services you offer to your customers. You’ve also taken the time to prioritize your needs so you and your team can focus on what really counts and not have to consider all the possibilities you might include in your wish list.

You’ve finally got the financial bids from the two finalists chosen, so now you can complete your selection and sign the contract.

So, have you really considered everything? Really?

And what about the human factor? Did it even come to mind?

For your part, you already know who on your team will be involved in the implementation project and who will introduce the change in your organization. You’ve also thought about appointing or hiring a project manager specifically to manage the day-to-day project.

But do you really know the consultants of the provider you’ll be working with? Have you even met them? Of course, the people you’ve met so far are very pleasant and accommodating and listen to you. What do you expect? It’s the sales team!

Before finalizing your decision, be sure you’ve met the consultant(s) who’ll be working on your project and then ask yourself: Do I see myself working with those people? Will my team work well with them? Your project’s success and the value you’re going to get as a return on those investments depend directly on the answers!

A few years ago, Deloitte conducted an investigation of businesses that had deployed a management solution, not once but twice. They wanted to find out what tipped the balance each time and if there was a difference between the first and the second project.

Can you guess the result? The difference was the human factor!

10 Key Solution Selection Criteria 1st time 2nd time
Cost of solution 1
Ease of implementing solution 2
Ease of use 3
Software’s ability to adapt to the company 4 3
Solution’s functions 5
Solution ran on existing hardware 6
Solution’s potential for growth 7
Level of support from solution provider 8 1
Documentation quality 9
Provider’s previous experience 10 2

 

The companies that had already implemented an ERP system once considered the provider and its people more important than the solution’s cost (only the 5th most important factor in the decision).

If you think about it, successfully implementing a management solution (like changing the engine in a car while driving) can only be done through close teamwork between your team and the partner from which you’re going to buy the solution. No doubt you’ll run into potholes on the road, but you’ll get through it together.

In the end, implementing an ERP system is a technology project, of course, but it’s also a human project first and foremost!

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