Ensure Success with Your Next ERP Implementation
We conducted a random (and anecdotal) survey of executive sponsors of ERP implementations, and asked them what their business goals and objectives were for their project. The number one answer we heard was “to implement software on time and on budget.” (A close second was “for project to be over.”) Unfortunately, using project time and budget as indicators of success are not the most productive or useful measurements.
A project’s true measure of success is whether the ERP solution deployed delivers business value, meets the needs of stakeholders, and most importantly, fulfills the previously set business goals and objectives of the project. The way to ensure success with an ERP implementation is by setting clear, achievable goals and objectives for the project at the onset of the effort.
Business Goals and Objectives
While seemingly redundant, business goals and objectives serve different purposes and should be crafted, set, and pursued differently. Business goals are long term qualitative statements surrounding the future state of the organization. They tend to be bigger picture ideas. Business objectives on the other hand are more granular and quantifiable statements regarding the future state of the organization. An example of a business objective would be “To increase sales revenues by 10% over the next calendar year.” In other words, business objectives are SMART goals.
The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. All the elements of SMART goals are important but one— measurement – is particularly critical in this instance. If the business objective cannot be specifically measured at the beginning and end of the project, then you will not really know what you achieved and if your project was successful. There will be no way to prove any kind of ROI (return on investment) on the project. This is especially true considering how tight most company’s budgets are and how potentially expensive a project such as an ERP implementation can be. Measurement is key to success.
Taking the time at the beginning of the project, while actual ERP implementation is still a ways off, set SMART project objectives. Make objective setting a part of the requirements gathering stage as this is just as important as any specific software functionality requirement. An ERP project may be executed flawlessly and deliver a well-crafted solution that is on time and on budget, but until you measure your project’s success using true business objectives, you will never know if your ERP implementation was successful.
Setting SMART objects during the initial stages of an ERP implementation is only one way to ensure ERP implementation success. Doing your research to determine what questions to ask when selecting an ERP is another key factor in ERP success.