An ERP implementation is not an IT project, but it is a change of your business in form of a project. You start this project in order to better serve your customers and as a consequence realize growth of the organization. It requires a different way of thinking and acting from the complete business and therefore the willingness to change. Thus, it is important that your entire organization supports the project. Without the buy-in of the rest of the organization, you better not start with this. There are three important groups that need to understand the added value of the new ERP system and need to support the project.
The management forms the leadership of the organization. They do not have to be involved in the implementation process every step of the way. But if the leadership of your organization is a big supporter of the new ERP system, this can contribute to the success of the implementation in countless ways. Consider, for example, assigning the right resources and people to the project and removing internal obstacles and objections that stand in the way of a successful project. Buy-in from management and board members helps you to meet criteria for a successful implementation.
Key users play a crucial role in the ERP implementation. They are closely involved in describing and creating processes, they take decisions regarding procedures and work methods, they test the system and they are responsible for transferring the knowledge within their own department. A key user who starts an ERP project with an aversive or reluctant attitude is a major threat. Positive energy, the willingness to change, self-initiative and a sense of responsibility are required. For this reason, you should, when selecting your key users, not only look at what an employee knows about the processes, but also consider the employee’s mentality and attitude. For example, an experienced employee may be very knowledgeable about the processes, if there is no willingness to change, it will not work out well. A younger employee who does have the right spirit (and perhaps also can free more time for the project) can be more suitable as a key user. By the way, do not hesitate to change your project team during the implementation. Does a key user not bring what you expected or what you had hoped for? Pick someone else, this project is of crucial importance and must succeed.
Ultimately everyone in the organization will work with the new software. So, acceptance or rather embracing the ERP system by all employees is important. Timely inform the entire organization of the plans you have and keep them updated on the progress you make. Make sure everyone sees that this is a step that will help the organization move forward and that it makes the daily jobs in all departments easier.
Alex Bouwmeester is Project Manager Europe at Dysel and guides the customer from start to finish during the implementation.