Beyond the top ten lists of how to implement an enterprise resource planning software system (ERP), there comes a time when a company must simply turn the thing on and get moving forward. However, there are always a vast number of businesses that struggle with actually completing an ERP implementation. What’s even more surprising is that companies that have committed time and resources to ERP implementation actually “freeze up” when completing the task of going live with their new system.
Of course, a good ERP implementation team that has done its homework will already have thought through this stage/issue with their installation consultant. Let’s assume, for a moment, a company that hasn’t considered the actual completion of the implementation; that they have not set up benchmarks that even identify where that stage might be. In this scenario we identify the first issue of completion hesitancy: lack of clarity of what completion looks like.
The second major problem involves the predetermination of unrealistic early expectations. While selling the solution, the implementation team promises the world. In and of itself, that sort of attitude is not entirely wrong to feel. The problem, though, is often a complete miscommunication about what is the core of the implementation, and what are the features that can be value added services to be rolled out in phases.
Again, high expectations are pretty commonplace throughout most endeavors. The problem is that such expectations can, in fact, get in the way of an otherwise smooth implementation that has realistic goals as the basis for meeting objectives. This is where having someone who can articulate scope and timeframe will pay off well. Project managers are, of course, great for this leadership role on your ERP team. In short: most ERP implementation teams fail to make list of items to be completed and march towards getting the issues related to key items closed. More vocal members of the team tend to set the agenda and dominate discussions, while less vocal members (who may have equally great, or better, ideas) get shut out of participating in meetings.
Creating a list of open items and assigning scaled priority measures to each task will help close out issues faster. Also, its important for all team members (for all company employees, actually) to understand that slowing down of task completion can damage an implementation—particularly if momentum is lost in the closing stages of the implementation.
Getting your ERP system implemented successfully is both an art and a science. In some cases, there is a decided tendency to resist going live, and to not cross that threshold of safety and security. However, by listening to the implementation consultant provided by your ERP software vendor, crossing that threshold to completion is not as hard, or as scary, as you might think.