How to Build a Successful ERP Implementation Team
An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is an integrated software suite that handles all processes that keep your business running, from inventory management to payment processing. Because an ERP system covers almost all aspects of your operations, the implementation process can take as long as a few months to half a year. Mistakes such as haphazard planning and incomplete goal-setting can result in delays or even project failure, leaving your whole business vulnerable to numerous setbacks and added expenses.
As such, you would need a capable ERP implementation team to handle the nuances of setting up the system before and after it goes live. The team will be the one to prevent future system blunders through best practices and the input of all stakeholders, including the system manufacturers and end-users.
To help you successfully adopt an ERP Philippines-based industries can trust, here are some tips on putting together a dream team to undertake the implementation effort from start to finish.
Select Members Based on Skills, Not Positions
Successful ERP implementation projects involve the efforts of employees from various departments and seniority levels. When selecting team members, you need to assess what they can bring to the table. A good indicator of suitability for inclusion in the ERP team is experience working on similar projects. You can also gauge their qualifications based on the different roles in the team, which we will discuss next.
Determine Team Roles and Responsibilities
An ERP team brings together members with interdisciplinary expertise to match the different roles and responsibilities required to execute the implementation cycle. Generally, your team would need the following:
The executive sponsor is someone from the organization’s top management who will encourage the whole organization to get behind the effort. This person executes the overall project strategy, creates action plans, and analyzes risks and potential setbacks. Executive sponsors usually have the final say and ultimately influence decisions on budget, hiring, schedule changes, and further technology implementation. The sponsor’s decisions rely on the team’s input and the project manager’s updates on progress.
The project manager makes sure that the whole project is on schedule. This person checks if the project stays within its designated scope and can achieve its set milestones. The project manager works with the executive sponsor to integrate the company’s vision and reports progress to the company’s senior leadership. The manager serves as the eyes and ears of the project, managing everything from project budget and member selection to requirements development.
Aside from being the main point person, the project manager may take on other responsibilities such as selecting vendors, conducting final evaluations, and holding product demos.
The team’s implementation partner is the one who handles the more technical aspects of the project. This team member’s responsibilities include coordinating system installation and customization. This role is usually reserved for third-party consultants or providers who know best how to scale the technology. The implementation partner is also the one who handles training before and after the ERP goes live.
Depending on the project’s scope, the implementation partner may involve other roles such as a technical consultant and business analyst.
Change Management Agent/Team
The change management role involves introducing the ERP system to different departments and keeping track of expectations through user feedback. They oversee the knowledge transfer and training needs of all employees during the adoption and post-live stages. They also coordinate with the implementation partner on system changes. The team’s project manager can take on this additional role, especially if the business is smaller than most enterprises.
Cross-Functional Team Members
In contrast to the implementation partner, members of the cross-functional team come from the company’s own departments such as IT, manufacturing, logistics, sales, and finance. These members will provide valuable input to inform the configuration and design of the software to fit department-specific needs. This sub-unit is essential to the team because they are the “super users” or end-users.
Having in-house IT personnel as part of the cross-functional team is also important because your company needs to have an internal capacity to install and maintain technologies to support the ERP.
A minor yet significant part of the team is the report writer. An ERP system must be able to generate reports that provide a comprehensive view of pertinent business data and statistics. The report writer gives feedback on report quality and helps customize ERP reports to suit your organization’s needs.
The report writer must be knowledgeable of the data stored by the ERP as well as its tools for report generation. This team member will be the one to integrate the enterprise’s current reporting procedures with the new platform.
Make Sure That All Members Have Enough Time for Other Tasks
Now that you’ve established your team, you need to make sure that they can still do their core job descriptions outside of the project. ERP implementation is a meticulous and reiterative process that eats up team members’ time and energy. You may have to reassign some members’ tasks to other employees as the project goes on.
Don’t Stop Assessments Once the System is Live
Even with the adoption and implementation of the ERP system, the team must continuously examine its effectiveness. You can never rule out the possibility of problems arising beyond the go-live stage.
When done properly, ERP implementation can lead to transformative changes such as increased productivity, better customer experience, and streamlined operations. Any implementation effort can be successful, just as long as you know your people well and trust their ability to move the project forward.