There’s a lot that goes into ERP implementation, and, as such, there should be a lot that goes into team selection. Smaller companies may not have the luxury to assign lots of people to ERP teams and that’s okay. Although we speak of some larger scale strategies, like multiple teams, a team can be one or two people if need be. It’s less about size, or even who has time or inclination, and more about who has the skills needed to effectively elicit change.
Here are some key points to consider when assembling your ERP implementation team(s):
ERP may seem like an IT focused project, but it’s a business wide endeavor. Leaning too heavily on IT for implementation can be a mistake. Leaning too heavily on executives is also problematic if they will not be directly involved in using and managing the ERP system.
It’s best to involve people invested in the outcome and eventual daily process of using the new ERP system. This, of course, involves IT and management, but not exclusively. It’s best to identify who in your organization will influence both the setup and continued use of the system and make sure they have some leadership in the implementation process. This means involving key employees in the departments deeply affected by the change and not just the department managers.
Identify Leadership Skills:
Change management and buy in is a large part of ERP implementation. It’s important to choose emotionally intelligent leaders who can communicate well, troubleshoot and inspire buy in for change. These leaders will also be responsible for project management and training, so organization skills and follow through are also key components. Can your project manager(s) keep focus in meetings, drive decision making to consensus, and listen to and handle concerns diplomatically? These skills will be as essential, if not more essential, than understanding the intricacies of the technology itself.
Assemble Multiple Teams:
Everyone’s time is valuable and limited. Because of this, a project of this scope may be best tackled by several smaller teams, which can have full ownership over different points in the implementation process. Consider who has the time, skills, influence and interest in these different areas when crafting teams:
- The Visionaries - This can be a management-focused team that answers questions like … when is project completion, what are the overarching goals, when is the system ideally up and running, where does the buck stop on decision making, who leads the progress report meetings and who manages the vendor relationship?
- The Project Managers - While there is a liason here for upper management on a steering committee, this is all about managing the day-to-day. Leads from Departments and IT need to be involved, non-management stakeholders and influencers should be included, and one or two key people on this team will need leadership and project management skills. This is the group that finds themselves in meetings asking the tough questions as they oversee implementation department wide. Questions like . . . why is HR not using the beta system, what new customization is needed for the inventory module and how can we meet the upcoming data import deadline? Etc.
- The Doers - These folks are in the trenches, working with the vendor, IT, and employees to get the project off the ground and running smoothly. This team will be executing and troubleshooting everything on the ground level and reporting back to project management. IT and your vendor will be heavily involved in this team, as will department managers on the ground running training and troubleshooting with staff.
The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. We can be your ERP partner to help with these and other essential ERP tasks. If you’re considering a vendor, Give Parallel Solutions a call at (440) 498-9920. We are a full service provider and our experienced staff can help assess all your needs from software to training and support.