ERP implementations involve:
Installing & configuring software
Moving data to the new system
This has been compared to having open heart surgery while running a marathon, and that’s not far off. Making changes to the software and related processes that drive your business is invasive. And it’s unlikely that you will be shutting down operations while these changes are being made. This is a highly charged, stress filled, risky time for your business. Yet successful and calm implementations are possible, and for us, are quite common.
Teamwork: This is a highly collaborative process. No one knows your system better than the people who are running it. However, users often need help creating a vision for what’s possible, or insight on how to get there. A well functioning team of users and outside stakeholders can create magic. The trick is to build and invest in the team.
Speed: It’s a common theme – projects get bogged down and miss deadlines. Stalled projects frustrate management and team members alike. Projects need quick wins. Teams function better when they are accomplishing results. However we appreciate Peter Senge’s advice that with systems “Faster is Slower” (a). If you go too fast, you’ll gloss over critical steps. The key to this balance lies in the initiation of the project. The better the foundation, and the more effort that is put into understanding the problem and expected outcomes, the faster the team can go.
Clarity: The success of a project so often depends on the clarity of the business case and whether people believe they can achieve it. We find that focusing on Clarity of Intention and Clarity of Purpose helps teams identify the problems they are solving and understand their role in the solution to move forward. The clearer the road map, the greater opportunity to get there.
Change: Resistance to change seems universal. “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same, but get better” (b). We use a Change Map developed by 6seconds.org in which the three keys to change are Engage, Activate and Reflect. Using these steps, we seek buy-in and enrollment, learn new skills and experience the feeling of success with change, and learn from our experiences, both successes and failures.
Our implementation journey consists of 7 steps:
Discovery – Define the need, vision, scope of the project, and obtain commitment from the executive sponsor to continue.
Plan & Monitor – Developing a strategy to complete the work, as well as measure the progress and take corrective action as required. This occurs throughout the entire process.
Analyze – Detailed level of discovery and consists of processes that involve gathering detailed requirements and analyzing the business needs.
Build – Processes that carry out the tasks identified in the strategy.
Stabilize – Processes to ensure the solution meets the requirements and is ready for full deployment to a live production environment. This also includes people’s readiness to use the solution.
Deploy – Processes that will deploy the solution to a production environment.
Post Go Live – Processes that are in place to support the users once they are live on the solution.
(b) Sydney J Harris