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In today’s market, robust and reliable ERPs and project management tools can be the difference between success and failure. Most organizations have some type of tool for resource management—whether it’s a large-scale ERP system or dedicated professional services automation software (PSA)—and they all provide different levels of success. But with the right resource management tool, you can gain a holistic view of your organization, helping you make strategic, insight-driven decisions that accelerate your company ahead of your competitors.
That’s why many forward-thinking companies are investing in new ERP projects to improve their competitive advantage. But it’s no secret, these projects can be big challenges to take on—involving significant investments of time and resources. To make sure they’re a success, it’s critical you have the right plan in place.
In our recent webinar, we were joined by Sean Jackson, Managing Director of Lumenia Consulting, who offer expert guidance and support for companies looking to implement an ERP project. We explored what all successful ERP projects in common, where they can go wrong, and how to keep your teams on track.
We’ve gathered three of Lumenia’s core components to a successful ERP project, which can be also be applied to a resource management tool or PSA implementation.
Secure your senior management commitment
ERP isn’t just an IT project. It’s a complete business change that involves the entire organization. That means it needs active, visible support from the leadership team to get the rest of the company onboard.
A key responsibility of the senior management team is allocating the right resources to the ERP project. One of the most common causes of failure for ERP projects is a lack of resources or lack of the right resources, so its important management always has a clear visibility of what’s available.
Senior management should also be responsible for balancing conflict between the project and other day-to-day activities, and clearly communicating project objectives to other teams. That means empowering people to make decisions that keep the project moving forward, and assigning the right roles within teams to ensure the project doesn’t deviate from the planned objectives.
“These projects can take as long as 18 months, and over that time period, project objectives can get clouded,” explained Sean. “It’s up to the leadership team to hold the project team accountable, and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
On Demand Webinar
Roadmap to Successful ERP Projects – The Common Characteristics
Define your change management strategy
ERP projects can create some big changes across your business, so it’s important you have a strong change management strategy in place to ensure everyone in your business adopts new processes. Only when your people are on board can your organization see the full benefits of a new ERP solution.
In any ERP project, there’s a change management gap—between the traditional operational process in place before the new ERP solution, and the new operational processes in place after the solution is implemented. Bridging this gap involves focusing on five key areas:
Stakeholder engagement—identify the key stakeholders of the project, and solve the issues that might reduce their level of support for the project.
Project communication—ensure there’s a structured process for delivering essential project information to stakeholder groups.
Workforce transition—spot the areas of the project that will have an impact on workforce roles, and ensure these changes are accurately communicated to the people in those roles.
Training—identify the learning needs of everybody affected by the ERP project, and design an effective way to deliver training.
Benefits realization—understand the benefits the project will bring before you start, and make sure you have the structures in place to achieve them.
“As your ERP project is happening, it’s important that the implications of ERP design are communicated to the business in a structured way,” Sean explained. “The ERP project team are a small part of the organization, and while they might understand the benefits and changes early, the rest of your organization won’t, which makes communication critical.”
"These projects can take as long as 18 months, and over that time period, project objectives can get clouded. It’s up to the leadership team to hold the project team accountable, and make sure that doesn’t happen."
Assign your internal resources strategically
While you’ll naturally want your ERP project to run smoothly, you’ll also need to ensure there’s no disruptions to day-to-day operations. Luckily, Sean offers a few best practices for balancing internal resources.
“Select the people you can’t afford to lose from the business, and assign them to the project on a full-time basis,” Sean suggested. In addition to assigning those key people to the project, it’s important to ensure their role is clearly defined and they understand what they’re trying to achieve—plus, assign a project manager that can keep everyone on target.
But just because these key team members are now part of the ERP project, it doesn’t mean they should be separate from the rest of the company. “You need to make sure they don’t lose touch with their colleagues. Their line manager should keep them up to date with what’s going on in the rest of the business, and clearly communicate what their role will look like after the project has been completed,” explained Sean. “Assigning your best resources to an ERP project can be difficult—but if it’s done right, it will save you money in the long run.”
Watch the full webinar on-demand
We’ve only covered part of Sean’s roadmap to ERP success. There’s much more to discover in the full webinar, including an in-depth look at how you can encourage business change as part of your ERP project, and the benefits you need to focus on for ERP success. And that’s not all—there’s also an exclusive Q&A with Sean revealing his expert advice for specific ERP challenges.
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