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Staying ahead of Schedule: 5 Lessons from a Successful ERP Roll-out

The media hasn’t been kind to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in recent months. In early March, Panorama Consulting Solutions released a report stating that half of all ERP projects achieve less than half of their projected benefits (the survey included 246 enterprises in 64 countries). This report followed a string of lawsuits against ERP vendors from disgruntled customers whose projects came in behind schedule and over budget. But in the midst of this all this discontent, there was one company – Daiwa House Industry – that was able to finish their SAP roll-out ahead of schedule. Here are five lessons to learn from that SAP roll-out.

1. Focus Your Team

It is vital to the success of your ERP roll-out that your team is not spread too thin. ERP implementations are daunting, with many interrelated tasks that, should one slip through the cracks, could cause a ripple effect of disruption throughout the entire project. It’s a common mistake, therefore, to want to maximize staff utilization by way of multitasking. But having to switch from one task to another can lead to unexpected delays. Employees aren’t as dedicated and effective when they are doing a little bit of everything rather than working on a focused task. The lesson: let employees focus on the task at hand, and only move on to the next task when the first has been completed.

2. Know When Something Is Good Enough for Now

A key criteria for the success of rule #1 is for people to know when to stop. Don’t waste time sweating the small stuff, but step back when something is good enough. This will ensure that the project keeps running smoothly, while nobody gets bogged down with details that don’t affect the go-live of the project. The lesson: provide clear exit criteria for each task.

3. Don’t Micromanage

Similar to not allowing your team to get blinded by details, the project manager also shouldn’t lose track of the big picture by devoting too much time to the daily minutiae. Your team members have a set of skills and experience that got them hired in the first place. The lesson: you should trust that they know what it takes to get the job done.

4. Involve the Business Users

Sure, ERP software is installed by the IT department, but its ultimate goal typically is to improve business processes. Be proactive in defining business improvements and maintaining synergies between IT and the business users. The lesson: adopt the mindset that you are not rolling out an ERP solution, but that you’re improving your business processes and practices.

5. Keep in Mind the Big Picture

So now your team is focused, your project manager is in control, everyone knows what they’re doing – but how do the individual tasks fit together? In order for your team to keep track of the end goal they are working towards, you have to make sure people keep an eye on the big picture. The lesson: don’t develop tunnel vision, but provide your team with a clear picture on how their individual tasks fit into the greater whole.

Looking for more expert tips and tricks to ensure your ERP adoption process goes smoothly? Be sure to visit our exclusive resource center on ERP software for all materials on ERP implementation, product reviews and industry insights. If you’re ready to start shopping ERP solutions, download our free comparison report of the top enterprise resource planning systems.

[Photo courtesy of Trexin.]

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N. Rowan

Director, Program Research,
Program Research, Editor, Expert in ERP, Cloud, Financial Automation