A separate blog provides an overview regarding the five critical success factors needed to have a successful ERP implementation being:
- Executive sponsorship/committee and support
- Select a project manager
- Cross functional team assigned
- Training for all users
- Test prior to “go-live”
The number one critical success factor is listed first for a reason. Without the CEO’s or COO’s full support of the project, the probability of success is dramatically decreased. A culture of Accountability with Consequences must be created combined with direct communication from the Company Executives. If the ERP implementation team and the rest of the company does not feel nor understand the sense of urgency and criticality of having a successful ERP launch, full participation from all business functions will not happen for the following five reasons:
Resistance to change
It is a well-known fact that people resist change at the work place (and in life) for numerous reasons including a) fear of the unknown, b) job insecurity and c) if they don’t understand the reasons for as well as the benefits to be derived by the change. Without the proper executive sponsorship, the wall representing resistance to change will be an entrenched obstacle.
Two way communication with the Executive Sponsor is crucial in order to a) keep morale high even when a particular battle appears lost, b) provide strategic guidance and tactical direction to ensure that everyone is on the same page c) keep accountability high throughout the project, and d) inform the rest of the company of the progress being made as well as showing continued executive support and of the project.
Undoubtedly, along the way, there will be challenges for the company that appear that will test the company’s resolve of keeping the project on track keep it from getting derailed by all urgent matters that surface. All the company employees, managers will need to know that the Executive Sponsor is available to “make the call” and therefore have clear direction on task priorities in both the short and long term.
In most instances, an ERP system was obtained because the company is growing rapidly or needs to get the operations under control. Either way, employees are feeling stretched and stressed just trying to “hold down the fort”. Without Accountability with Consequences, employees will remain focused on getting their day-to-day jobs done at the expense of the ERP implementation as that is what they will be measured on come performance review time.
Measurement Yields Improvement
The old business adage of what gets measured improves is very relevant in this instance. Just knowing executives care and communication with executives will result in better results.
About the Author
Bob Swedroe is President and CEO of Expandable Software, Inc., a leader in manufacturing software development since 1983. Bob has held executive management positions at both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies including XO Communications, Silicon Graphics and Concentric Networks.
About Expandable Software, Inc.
Expandable Software, Inc. develops, markets and supports and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite designed to help fast-growing manufacturing companies maximize business performance.
Expandable’s fully integrated enterprise solution achieves a low total cost of ownership by delivering long-term deployment of a single system implementation.
With its unique model of direct sales and support, Expandable minimizes implementation costs and assures expert ongoing customer support.