21 Aug Why might you be doomed to failure?
A few of the lessons learned during ERP and CRM implementation projects
By Marco Del Duca, project manager for Nubik
Greetings everyone. My name is Marco Del Duca, I am a seasoned project manager who has spent the last ten years globetrotting around the world of IT project management in various businesses.
Today’s blog post is the first in a series where I will be highlighting the pitfalls you need to avoid, as well as the success factors for the implementation of ERP/CRM systems. There are a multitude of articles addressing this theme in the business literature; however, it still sparks the same interest and I fully intend to add my humble contribution based on my own experience.
Not enough management involvement
The most common mistake we run across is the perception that this is a turnkey project which does not require the mandatory involvement of the executives. The latter are under the impression that the firm hired to implement the system is responsible for doing everything. Some managers may not even have the motivation or the availability; it is however imperative that they spend time with the consulting firm to explain their business process in detail. The client must be an active participant in the project to allow the firm to draw on its expertise and guide him as they identify, map out or even optimize his processes.
The integration of the project within the business operations must start at the top. In order to increase the awareness and to involve the executives during the customization of an ERP or CRM system, they must know and understand the benefits that such a system will bring to their organization. They must also work side-by-side with the hired firm to ensure the needs of their business are well understood. Furthermore, the client must invest time to see the project through. This will ensure that the knowledge acquired during the project is actually applied.
Not enough expertise
We must not forget that executives are professionals within their own domain of expertise, which may not always include Information Technology. Consequently, they don’t necessarily understand how and why they need to manage this kind of project. It is the responsibility of the consulting firm implementing the system to adequately coach the client and to remind him that he has a key role to play in the success of the implementation.
To counter this issue, training is a key factor in maximizing the likelihood of success of any ERP or CRM system implementation. We must ensure that the management team, as well as the employees, are properly educated on the system, and that they can benefit throughout the implementation process from comprehensive training suited to their specific needs. As a matter of fact, the training must be customized to match the reality and the size of the business.
Every user within the organization has to be involved, and to that effect, everyone must be on board and trained adequately. As an example, the Trailhead training platform presents several tutorials to facilitate the process of absorbing the information. It is also important to conduct regular follow-ups with the employees to answer their questions and to tweak the training as needed. Moreover, these checkpoints are useful to track the project’s progress towards the objectives set at the beginning.
Poor internal communications and resistance to change
There is often a gap between the solution purchased by the executive team and what the users will be expected to do every day in the system. This is generally due to either poor internal communication, or the employees’ unwillingness to accept change. Management may not always be successful in persuading or demonstrating to the staff how the new system will benefit their daily tasks.
In order to properly integrate the project, it is critical to fight resistance to change by fostering a level of trust through clear and persuasive communications. In addition, training all the employees to master the system will act as a catalyst which will on one hand, promote the implementation, and on the other hand, improve their level of cooperation and feedback.
Would you like to know more? Would you like me to dive deeper into this topic? Indeed, I have many examples which I will be happy to share with you in my future posts.
Until then, don’t hesitate to share with me your own challenges, difficulties or questions on any of the elements discussed in this inaugural post of my thematic series.