Adequate time and resources (people and financial) are essential to an ERP project.
Your ERP Project Needs Adequate Personnel
Let's begin with the people. While it would be great if your employees could successfully complete ERP selection and implementation project tasks on top of their regular workload, it isn't realistic (in most cases). In the selection stages, auditing your processes, researching systems, contacting vendors and viewing product demos can take up a lot of time. And, let's face it, too heavy of a workload leads to missed deadlines, which leads to extending go-live dates, which leads to increased costs, which leads to unhappy management and potential ERP project failure.
For key resources, once you get into the implementation stage, the project can be a full-time job- and it should be- if you want a smooth, on-time ERP implementation. This full-time position will be your internal project manager who will lead the implementation, or be second in command to the ERP consultant leading your implementation.
Your ERP Project Needs Adequate Time
Now, let's discuss time. There's never enough of it. But there are ways to manage it. First things first, your organization must scope the project and create realistic time goals. This type of project deserves SMART Goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. The average ERP project, from planning, to selection, to implementation, to training, to go-live is around 17 months. That seems like a long time, but you really want to get it right the first time. Within your go-live goal date should be project milestones to keep the project moving. If the schedule slips, the go-live date pushes.
Your ERP Project Needs Adequate Financial Resources
Finally, let's talk about the money. An ERP solution can be a huge investment. Many companies look at the upfront costs and shy away from beginning such a project. There's not only software costs, there are personnel costs, hardware costs and consultant costs for the implementation and training. However, most ERP projects have a great return on investment that is usually achieved in less than a year after implementing. That is, if the project is done right. Not devoting enough financial resources to a project can mean a company ends up with an ERP that is a poor fit and/or poorly implemented and poorly utilized by employees.
Did you miss the beginning of the ERP selection series? Take me to Rule #1.