An ERP implementation is comprehensive. On the customer side, all departments including management are involved, and from the software partner various specialists are involved. This requires a structured approach in which everyone plays their own role with their own specific tasks and responsibilities. I would like to introduce to you the main characters in your ERP project.
Management of the customer
The management of the organization where the ERP implementation takes place has a crucial role in the project. They must fully support the implementation and commit to the project with conviction. If not, the implementation is doomed to fail. The management must have a vision of what they want to achieve with the ERP implementation; What are the most important strategic objectives in the long term? If the ERP system can facilitate this, it is the right choice for the company. It is then a job for the management team to internally create awareness and support for the project. People need to realize what benefits the new software will bring. Change management is sometimes necessary; a new ERP system entails a new way of working and that means change for the staff. The management must help people deal with this change. A checkup of the organization is also required before you start the project; who is going to do what, can we free them for this project and who will take over their tasks? An ERP project is a big responsibility for the management.
Project managers are appointed on the sides of both the customer and the software partner. They work closely together to make the project a success. That starts with defining a clear scope: what will be part of the project and, also important, what will not be included? The project managers also set up a project plan for the work to be carried out per sub-phase. The team of consultants and key users is brought together and it is ensured that everyone on the team carries out his or her tasks accurately and on time. In periodic project meetings, the project progress and the budget are monitored. If required, measures are taken, because it is the joint responsibility of the project managers that the project is executed on time, within budget and according to the scope.
The consultants are the specialists on the side of the software partner. They analyze and optimize business processes, take care of the setup, take care of the data conversion and provide training and support to the key users. A broad range of tasks that requires knowledge of the industry, what the business processes in the organization should be like and of course knowledge of the software. In addition, they must be a sparring partner for the management and the key users when it comes to deciding how the software can be used optimally. And they must be able to transfer their knowledge to the key users.
The name says it all; key users play a key role in the project. They work at different departments and play a prominent role in the implementation. They think about the most optimal ways to use the ERP software and they consider changes and optimizations of the processes. Key users must be able to define the business processes (also from other departments) application-independently and write them down. They are decisive, energetic, flexible, willing to change and have a positive attitude. These are not necessarily the most experienced employees or the people who have been working in the organization for many years or the managers. The right attitude and knowledge and understanding what an ERP implementation is all about are more important.
All these main characters together turn the project into a success. But the truly important people have not been mentioned yet: the end users. They will get to work with the software every day. They have to acknowledge the benefits and not only accept the system, but embrace it as well. Only then the ERP implementation can become a success in the long term.
Alex Bouwmeester is Project Manager EMEA at Dysel and guides the customer from start to finish during the implementation.