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ERP: It’s not an IT project, it’s a business project!

The last thing an ERP implementation project needs is to be perceived as an ‘IT project’. If the impression is created that the project is the responsibility of the IT department then the chances of the project team taking ownership of the solution drop dramatically. It’s perfectly acceptable to have IT-led projects for technical upgrades or other projects where the users see little or no functional difference to the system. However IT-led projects will inevitably tend to focus on the technical aspects of delivering the solution with less emphasis on the users’ requirements and the detail of the business processes the solution is supporting. That’s a recipe for disaster when implementing ERP.

It's a Business Project

IT-led projects tend to suffer in terms of the level of engagement and solution ownership from the business. Lack of engagement from users during solution design increases the risk that the solution will be flawed in some way and pretty much guarantees that issues will arise once the system goes live. Clearly the IT people should provide their skills and expertise to assist the business people assigned to the project team, but ultimately the business has to engage with the project, the business has to ensure they’re happy with the solution design, and the business has to verify that the system has been configured correctly.

From the start ERP projects need:

  • Leadership: Visible commitment from senior management and the project sponsor to the project and its importance to the business.
  • Resources: The best people from the business need to be assigned to the project and given the time they need to do their tasks.
  • Ongoing Business Ownership: Check regularly that the project is delivering the solution the business needs and achieving the anticipated business benefits.

Avoid the ‘IT project’ trap in ERP implementations by ensuring the business clearly understands their role in the project and leads from the front.

This Blog was written by John Donagher, Principal Consultant at Lumenia. If you would like further information on ERP Implementation or on any other aspect of ERP please send an e-mail to John Donagher.