ERP Implementation Support
In all of our ERP projects since 1996 no client has ever said “My last ERP implementation was a good time. Everything went just as planned.” The recollections and stories are usually quite the opposite.
The reasons ERP implementations are almost always over budget, take longer, and cost more than planned is explained in our 1-hour implementation control webinar. In response to these persistent problems, EAI has built and tuned over the years an implementation approach that controls project factors that cause these typical problems. The main difference in the EAI implementation approach and the ‘typical implementation approach’ is the level of project ownership and control by the buyer of ERP. This includes the imperative for the buying company to fully own the future-state process planning, design of metrics, data migration, and identification and retirement of existing process support tools (forms [paper or electronic], spreadsheets, databases, point applications, etc.).
Implementation Project Staffing Approach
The project participants described below are required to support the ERP implementation. A fundamental point about the team hierarchy shown below is where the ERP project management is conducted. With the ERP buyer’s Internal Project Team having the experience, skill, and capacity to lead the project, the implementer’s team falls under the project management protocols of the buyer and largely fills the role of the ERP expert and works with the internal team to determine the optimal way to achieve business process objectives with the new ERP.
The ERP buyer's internal project management team is comprised of the two roles shown (Implementation Process Manager and Internal Project Manager). The staffing model shows these two roles because the skills and capacity of each role are not usually found in one person, especially with larger and more complex projects. However, in some situations these roles can be combined for an appropriate single person to execute.
Implementation Process Manager: The ERP implementation control approach detailed in this document seeks to reach exceptional results with modern ERP software well suited for the buyer's business. The following skills, experience and capacity are necessary from the Implementation Process Manager.
- Experience with enterprise business software in general (with experience in the ERP being implemented a plus, but not necessary).
- Knowledge of business processes that will be affected by the new business software, and knowledge of best practices in various ERP project-related processes.
- Familiarity with organizational process design, improvement methods, performance management and metrics, with the ability to coach and teach other team members.
- Project management and change management skills.
- Experience with EAI implementation control methods and project management tools—or aptitude and attitude to quickly become trained and adapt.
- Being a skilled communicator. Effective style to productively work with all levels of people at the organization who will be using the new ERP.
- Flexible capacity of 20 to 50 hours per week to support a typical ERP implementation project.
- If a contractor is used, proximity to the company's ERP implementation project to reduce travel costs.
Internal Project Manager: ERP projects are subject to hundreds of large and small events and hundreds of actions, tasks and activities being planned and executed. Much of what keeps all of this moving forward is helping project team members be informed and accountable for their responsibilities. The role called Internal Project Manager has this job in order to keep the overall project moving forward per plan. An existing company employee typically best fills this role. Helpful attributes for this role are:
- Known and respected by company members involved in the ERP project. Understands company politics and can navigate around potential obstacles.
- Excellent project management skills.
- Familiar with the business processes to be supported by the ERP—especially from an enterprise process flow level.
- Familiarity with the EAI implementation control methods, which is typically developed during ERP selection and the pre-implementation readiness planning process.
- Ability to commit 15 to 30 hours a week to the ERP implementation project.
Methodology Expert: The EAI Methodology Expert is a top-level expert in the methods and tools that have been developed by Engleman Associates, Inc. (EAI). EAI methods and project tools are designed to meet the varied demands of specific business software projects. An EAI Methodology Expert primarily works with the project team as a coach in a consultative role and provides help with:
- EAI methods and tools - as tuned for an individual client's ERP implementation project.
- Future state process design decisions in which there is uncertainty on how to proceed.
- Personnel issues with the ERP implementer or other contractors.
- ERP project scope increase requests, reviews, and discussions to approve or table.
- ERP contract interpretation and defending the buyer's interests.
Long term ERP license costs were initially very difficult to calculate. Working with SoftSelect we were able to insist on a predicable ERP license fee approach and achieve much lower initial and ongoing license fee costs.
SoftSelect was a great partner throughout the process of choosing an ERP solution. They helped us control the terms throughout the ERP buying process, and we achieved impressive results in reduced ERP license fees. Having an experienced partner like SoftSelect, helped us negotiate for the products we need and set our expectations for the process of implementing these solutions.
Negotiating ERP costs is complicated and the ERP software vendors take advantage of the buyer’s lack of experience. SoftSelect’s experience and influence helped us level the playing field. We clearly saved money and lowered our long term risk.