3 critical success factors for performing your own ERP assessment
You’re ready to perform your ERP assessment? Congratulations! We know how much work it took to get this point. If you are following the ERP Evaluation Kit process, that means you have completed steps 1 and 2, have built your ERP solutions short list, garnered executive approval, and have an idea of what the budget for this project might be. At this stage, you need to perform a deep dive on your technology so you can provide your business leadership team with concrete justifications, budget numbers and business requirements for the project.
Does your business have what it takes to perform an internal ERP assessment? Doing the assessment yourself will keep your conclusion neutral and based entirely on your needs (and not the agenda of an outside player). Ultimately, it’s a business decision whether to do this yourself. For some insight, you can use the following three success factors to help you decide your best course:
1. Assign a Project Champ
Imagine that you’re planning a trip. Think of this person as your tour guide for the rest of the project. This person plots the way forward and helps remove obstacles before they become issues. Here are a few questions for the project champ to ask:
- Has anyone on your team been through an ERP implementation before? Obviously, this person will either BE the project champ or be a major advisor on the project.
- What are the most important internal issues facing the business? Try to keep the major issues as the basis for the project and stay focused there, and avoid getting pulled off task.
- What does the optimal process look like for your business? No ERP project goes exactly as planned, but having an optimal approach sketched out is the best way to start.
- What do you want to accomplish? Stay focused on solving existing problems, such as preparing for future growth, or getting ready for an upcoming merger, etc.
- What happens after this project is complete? It’s a good idea to have a big picture roadmap, so you can stay on task and communicate clearly to stakeholders.
2. Use the ERP Evaluation Kit as your guide
If the project champion is your tour guide, the ERP Evaluation Kit is your Fodor’s planning book for your journey. The kit is intentionally built as a progression, so you can chip away at the information and skills you need for the engagement, and not get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project. Here are the steps in the kit:
- Step 1 – build your shortlist: You need to understand which ERP solutions are available and how they stack up against what your company’s needs. In this step, you will learn more about your business software choices and build a short list to work with.
- Step 2 – scope your project: Before you can move forward with your project, you need to know what it’s going to take, and what it’s going to cost. In this step, you have access to calculators, estimators, and other tools that help you get your arms around requirements and costs.
- Step 3 – gain executive approval: Pitching your ERP project to the money people is made easier with tools and guidance.
- Step 4 – mobilize the troops: You need proven tools and approaches to set your company up for a successful implementation.
- Step 5 – choose the right partner: You need a team that is dedicated to YOUR needs and truly wants to form a partnership.
3. Gain support from your leadership team
The leadership team is the financing arm of your trip, among other things. For your project to succeed, this team must be fully committed. This is where projects fall apart if the support layer isn’t locked in. You might want to keep these suggestions in mind:
- It takes some work at the beginning of the project, but if you get everyone on board at the outset, and then stay in touch with frequent updates, you will avoid confusion and, worse, project stoppage issues.
- Use the decisionmaker PowerPoint slide deck called ERP Project Summary in step 3 to help bring leadership team on board.
- Be aware if support is wavering and get in front of it as quickly as you can.
- Get buy-in early, so time isn’t wasted later.