ERP Implementations and House Building – Phase 3: Choosing for a Partner
In this multi-part blog series, Alan Lyczkowski discusses the many surprising parallels that can be drawn between an ERP implementation and the process of building a house. NOTE: If you’re just joining us for the series, you can read the first three installments here: Introduction, Phase 1: Analysis, and Phase 2: Shopping.
You have identified that you need a new ERP. You know what you and your users want, and you have evaluated several systems.
Now what? You need to find someone to help get you there.
Do you have the skills and discipline to implement an ERP? How does that interfere with your other day- to-day tasks of running your business? Just like my needs for a new house, I know that, although I know a lot about home building, I am not an expert.
It would be nice if I had the ability to take a significant amount of time off of work to build a house, just like it would be great to take that amount of time off to implement an ERP, but is that really the best decision for me or my organization? I might know how a hammer works, and can pound a nail in, but is that the best for my family? The answers to both of these questions is no. Granted, through home building and ERP Implementations, you will be involved in every stage of the process, but some things are better left for the experts. That leads to the next question…
How do I choose the experts that will assist me?
In the Shopping phase, you became familiar with the ERP systems available, and you became familiar with some of the experts that can assist with your implementation. But just because you have met people that can demo well does not mean that they can implement well. DO YOUR HOMEWORK when selecting the team that will assist you on your ERP project.
After selecting the software, look for the following in your implementation team:
- Are they knowledgeable of the software? And the version of the software that you are purchasing?
- How many Implementations in the software have they performed?
- Are they knowledgeable in your industry? How well do they understand your specific business needs within your industry?
- Are they a team that you can work with? What are their project management styles, and can you work with these as well?
- Check references of the implementation team, just like you would check references of a contractor. Ask for their success stories, as well as some of their more challenging projects.
Remember that a significant portion of your ERP investment will be the implementation costs. How well you work with the implementation team will dramatically affect the success of your project. It is critical that you choose a partner that you can work with, and that can work with you. Doing your research can make all the difference in this stage.
Watch for Alan’s next installment, Phase 4: Decisions.