Anyone who has been part of an ERP implementation knows the importance of having the right people on the project team. While emphasis is typically put on the technology itself, in the end, it is the people of the organization who are using the system. They are the ones who need to know the ins and outs of the software. Dedicating the right resources who know the business, the vision for the future and how the system will be used can drive a more seamless implementation.
Executive buy-in is a key in any ERP project. Executive sponsors are vital to the big picture of the ERP project and business processes going forward. Business leaders should be present for high-level planning and update presentations during each phase of the project to ensure milestones align with organizational goals and to review business case recommendations for development.
The executive team needs to challenge the integrity of the impending solution design to combat any “what if” events that may come their way. It is their job to also work closely with the communications team to prepare the wider company for the introduction of the new system through newsletters, town hall meetings and other milestone briefings.
The process leads take the project from idea to reality. They design, develop, test, and document the system processes to meet business goals. Process leads also determine reporting requirements and coordinate the cleansing of data, challenging any waste prior to data being transferred to the new system.
Process leads will train and test with the subject matter experts and end users, as well as provide go-live support. They will champion and drive continuous improvement of the business processes.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
SMEs are responsible for supporting deployment within the departments. Each department will need to select the subject matter experts who have specific knowledge in key functions or processes to spearhead project activity in their department. These individuals will most likely be heavy users in their area, and their drive to be successful will directly impact future productivity.
The main project responsibilities for SMEs include sharing current processes and collaborating on how they can be improved. They will test the new processes, “what if” scenarios, and reporting requirements. SMEs will support the process leads in data cleansing, end user education, and go-live support.
The implementation partner team is the yin to the organization project team’s yang. While the executive sponsors, process leads, and SMEs have deep insight into the organizational processes, the implementation partners bring the system expertise. Choosing the right implementation partner with industry expertise is crucial in addition to an industry-specific solution, as they understand who the system work best for the organization, and not the other way around. An implementation partner that can bring a team mixed with fashion and technical knowledge will guarantee the benefit of industry best practices and first-hand experience to get the most value from your ERP solution quickly.
Teams reflect the ability of leadership to turn their vision into reality. Creating the right blend of team members with industry, technical and business experience can provide the best foundation for a successful project and a high-performing team.
Paul Cornhill is a Project Manager at Avaap UK. He has 20+ years of experience implementing enterprise business software, including Infor M3, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and IBM. He has worked in the Fashion, Healthcare, Banking, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing, Distribution and Retail sectors.