An enterprise resource planning project often has a lot of confusion around it at the time of implementation. Much of this confusion stems from whether or not the responsibility for the ERP implementation falls on the consultant or the client. There are many ERP implementation projects that go very smoothly, while others just blow up. Why is this? Is it the fault of the consultant, the client, neither, both?
Understanding Who Runs the Project
The most pivotal part of any ERP implementation project is to have someone take ownership of the actual roll-out. Clients spend considerable amounts of money to have consultants come in and decipher ways to make things more efficient and effective from a business perspective. Consultants, in the majority of cases, are trying to do right by their clients. It may fall on the consultants to implement, but ownership of the process must be taken by one side or the other.
Initiating the Project
When the time comes to actually start the implementation, clients should be sure that they are taking the time to talk with the consultants. This is going to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the roll-out plan will take into account any factors the consultant may not have taken into consideration. Clients have an interest in ensuring that things roll-out smoothly for the business, so the more work they put in to plan beforehand, the less chance there is of something going wrong.
Basic Steps of an ERP Implementation Project
The basic steps of ERP implementation include initiate, design, build, test, and cutover. These five steps are the most common methodology used by consultants. They will be used from one company to another, but some projects work, and some do not. At the end of the day, the success of these basic steps comes down to understanding who is responsible for what, how it is going to be managed, and being on top of all potential issues before they arise.
Team Efforts Breed Success
The most successful ERP implementation projects are those where the effort is collaborative between the client and the consultant. The client should ultimately own how successful the roll-out or implementation actually is. This is because they have invested the money in the consultant to come up with the plan and to implement it. If the client doesn’t own the success of the plan, who does? The business is ultimately going to benefit if things go smoothly.
The collaboration should allow the client’s project manager to work with the consultant through and through. There should be open lines of communication at all times, with both sides being able to listen and be reasonable when things come up. It may require some negotiation as well, on the part of the project manager to get the consultant to tweak things as necessary.
At the end of the day, an ERP implementation project is going to come down to teamwork. Clients have invested money in consultants to propose an implementation plan and act on it to its successful completion. This investment, if not managed properly and executed in a collaborative manner, could end up reaping none of the benefits that were initially hoped. A successful ERP implementation all comes down to taking ownership and working as a team to reach a common goal.
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