ERP Transformational Change - Are you ready?
So, your market evaluations and down selection of vendors, partners and systems integrator are complete, and your contracts are being finalised – your ERP transformation programme is ready to launch, but what happens next?
When your implementation partner arrives on the ground, eager to engage, are you ready to hit the ground running and moreover to successfully manage your side of the programme?
My experience tells me there are a number of factors that must be in place to ensure a successful start, and to effectively and beneficially manage the relationship.
Mobilising your ERP programme
Firstly, don’t assume your SI will know exactly what to do and how to engage with your business. It will be their natural inclination to deploy on mass but are they really ready, and are you? They will be looking to you to have a full team in place including programme management and PMO, process owners and business leads and technical staff for infrastructure, security, environment access and so on.
Therefore, it is imperative to ensure there is a structured and effective mobilisation period where all parties clearly understand and agree their responsibilities and allows you sufficient time to mobilise your team. This isn’t about immediately holding everyone to contractual arrangements from day one, but it does require referral back to that agreed RACI and clarity around where the responsibilities, accountabilities and obligations lie to ensure success. Quickly establish the right governance framework to control the project and manage accountabilities.
Do you have governance and control in place?
Prepare for success – ensure your internal sponsorship is fully engaged and that you have the right resources outlined and appropriate measures in place for timely mobilisation. It’s all too easy to start a project in the belief that your resources can be fully deployed, only to find appropriate back-filling and handovers have not been completed and the business is still relying on your team to do their old day jobs.
Your partners are also likely to have initial staffing issues. Did you get the team you expected from day one? Baking in key resources into the contract stage will give you that continuity from project proposals to kick off. But often ramping up staff can be a challenge and you need to ensure that your supplier is sourcing the experienced resources you need when required. Act early if this is not the case. In a recent experience, a supplier’s PMO Lead neither had the cultural fit with the client or the expected expertise. Early identification quickly realised the problem and action was taken, but even so, not without an effective two-week delay to establishing the PMO.
Embed your partnership with your suppliers
Another key factor, paramount to early success, is the suppliers understanding of your business and culture. Have you spent enough time ensuring the on-boarding is effective and comprehensive? Get your suppliers out into the business to experience current working practices, locations, conditions, challenges and the ‘real essence’ of your business and operations, which will be hugely beneficial in their understanding.
In conclusion, kicking off a major piece of ERP transformation work will have your chosen suppliers and partners eager to jump right in and get going with many demands placed upon your organisation. Having worked for many years in programme manager roles for such organisations, I was able to help guide my client through the mobilisations process and prioritisation of these demands, so a structured and well executed programme launch was achieved.
Are you really Ready?
So, the next time you kick off a major transformation or implementation programme ask yourself honestly – are we ready to start; do I have the right sponsorship and commitment from my organisation; have we got the right mobilisation plan and governance established; and do I have the support I need client-side to be successful?
At Project One, we have a whole team of experienced change experts, helping customers navigate their most complex transformation challenges. If you are currently facing a challenge like this and need a sounding board, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.