Ask ten people what you need to know before beginning your first ERP software evaluation and you’ll get ten different answers. The number of documents addressing the topic is voluminous. One of the best and most straightforward that we’ve seen was posted by Eric Kimberling of Denver, Colo.-based Panorama Consulting. He summarized 20 items that every CIO and ERP project manager should know before beginning an ERP implementation. Here is his list:
1. ERP is about your business, not the technology.
2. ERP initiatives are very challenging.
3. Selecting the right software is the first step in a successful ERP software implementation.
4. No ERP software is perfect. All have their strengths, weaknesses, and tradeoffs.
5. A business blueprint is the second step to an effective ERP software implementation.
6. Business process re-engineering should happen before, not after, you implement your ERP software.
7. ERP software best practices and pre-configured solutions do not solve all the challenges of ERP.
8. SaaS ERP won’t eliminate all your risks, either.
9. Your project will fail without adequate organizational change management.
- Executive buy-in and support is critical to ERP software success.
- The “A-Team” is critical to ERP software success.
- There is no “one size fits all” ERP software strategy.
- If your operations and ERP software system are misaligned, it’s probably not the software’s fault.
- Expectations are high, but most ERP software implementations don’t properly define the “finish line.”
- Most organizations strive for “no customization,” but most fail to do so.
- You don’t have to implement ERP software all at once.
- In addition to planning, implementation is also about execution.
- If you don’t measure it, you won’t achieve it.
- It is important to recognize the “canary in the coal mine,” or signs that your implementation may be in trouble.
- ERP software success and benefits realization is largely determined before the implementation starts.
While no list is comprehensive, this is a good, common-sense start for anyone considering an initial ERP software implementation. Another excellent white paper on the subject, by the president of independent consultant 180 Systems, can be downloaded here.
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