Intelligent Outsourcing for a Successful ERP Implementation
It’s no secret that many ERPs fail to live up to expectations. In most cases, ERP failure can be traced directly back to a poor ERP implementation. One notable reason for ERP failure is the number of skills and competencies an ERP implementation requires to succeed, skills many organizations simply don’t have in-house.
This post will explore the challenges many implementations face, so you know when the time is right to tap external experts and outsource ERP implementation.
Planning Your ERP Implementation
Driving business transformation through ERP necessitates having a vision for how the business will evolve in the future. To make that vision a reality, you need an all-star project team that can excel across the required skill sets: technical know-how, project management, business process re-engineering, and organizational change management.
Most companies don’t have the required resources to develop all of these capabilities internally. That’s why smart organizations turn to ERP consulting partners to augment their internal resources and abilities. Still, much of the expertise required for a successful ERP implementation can be just as difficult to find in ERP consulting firms.
Take an honest look at your internal resources: Do a rigorous assessment of the caliber of skill and ability of your in-house team, compared against the skills required for a successful ERP implementation. Realistically evaluate areas of weakness and consider outsourcing those to an ERP consultant. You should define roles and responsibilities early in the planning process, prior to beginning your ERP implementation and deployment.
Value business smarts as much as technical competency: Technical software skills are critical but not an absolute determinant of a successful ERP implementation. ERP success relies less on how well the technical aspects are handled during the implementation, and more on the functional aspects — how the business components of an implementation are executed.
See the big picture – people and processes matter: Technical proficiency and software-specific skills are important. But configuring software is relatively straightforward. The people and process aspects of an implementation — such as communications, organizational change management, project management and business process re-engineering — are much harder to pin down. These functional skill sets are also harder to find. Many ERP consulting firms simply can’t offer competencies in these functional areas. Therefore, when looking for outside help, it is critical to find a partner that has both a comprehensive technical skill set and a proven methodology to help address all the other critical functional aspects of a successful ERP implementation.
You don’t need to outsource everything – be discriminating: Rely on outside assistance when and where it makes sense. Even the most talented external ERP consultant can’t make decisions for you about how to run your business. It’s your project; you need to provide the appropriate level of internal expertise and support. You must identify the skills and responsibilities your internal team can provide, and recognize those that should be delegated to outside experts. Only people within your organization can judge whether the ERP system as designed does exactly what you want it to do.
Assembling Your ERP Implementation Team
Gathering a team with the aptitude and proficiency needed to bring an ERP implementation home successfully is a huge challenge. You should start by being honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Understand that people and processes are as important as technical prowess, and choose which tasks to keep in-house and which to outsource. You’ll set the stage to leverage your internal team effectively, partner with the right ERP consultant, and lead your organization to a successful ERP implementation.