An ERP implementation project is a significant investment of time, money and resource for an organisation. It can represent a big shift in process, efficiency and even culture, particularly if you haven’t used an ERP system before. That means it’s incredibly important, not just from an operational perspective, but from a wider management perspective to get buy-in from the whole business for the project. We don’t just mean that the budget has been signed off by the CEO, or the FD, or the board – you need to bring every single person in the business who will be using or affected by the project in on the action.
Here are a few steps you can follow to ensure you get organisation-wide buy-in for your ERP project.
Have a clear goal
As we’ve covered in previous blog posts, your ERP implementation plan should be tied very closely to a business goal. Investing in a new ERP because “the old one is too slow” or because you think it’s going to magically fix a problem you’re having is not going to cut it. And it certainly won’t help you get buy-in. Well it might – but inevitably, when the problem still exists following the ERP implementation, you’ll seriously damage your chances of getting backing and support for future projects. Business process mapping as part of your project will help you identify areas of inefficiency and opportunities for improvement that you can tie your ERP requirements and usage to. If you make the project about business improvement, and not just about the shiny new software, this gives you a very strong case to take to the people who are going to give you the go ahead in terms of budget.
Build a strong plan
Having a detailed plan, complete with timelines, budget considerations and resource asks, ready early on is a great asset to take to the rest of the business for sign off. Realistically, the first question anyone is going to ask is “how much will this cost?” closely followed by “how long is this going to take?”. It’s a good idea to have all of this information nailed down before you take it to the rest of the organisation. Show that you have a very clear idea of timescales, costs and someone to steer the ship and prevent it from going off course, and you’re much more likely to get the nod of approval. Take a look at some of our previous posts for guidance on creating an ERP project plan and setting a budget.
Assemble the right people
Building the right internal team around your ERP project is key to success and will help you ensure that you get stuff done, on time, and with minimal fuss. As well as getting your implementation team in place, you should also make sure you have some heavy-hitters at C Suite and board level to back and sponsor your project early on – both in principal and financially and in principal. Getting this support early on will be a massive help when it comes to bringing in the rest of the organisation – and will definitely come in handy should you hit any stumbling blocks such as needing more budget or to bring in additional resource.
Bring end users in early
A common mistake made by many organisations carrying out an ERP project is that they don’t stay close enough to their end users. This unfortunately often doesn’t become entirely clear and apparent until the very end of the project when it’s time to roll-out the software across the business. At this point, if you haven’t bought end users on the journey, you are likely to be entering unknown territory. Chances are, they either didn’t know anything about the project or have picked up on some Chinese whispers about it, neither of which is an ideal situation. To really bring them with you on the journey and help them see the benefits both to the organisation and their day-to-day, you need to involve them at the very beginning of the project, and keep them close throughout. Host frequent progress update sessions, invite feedback where necessary and take the time to build and execute a proper training program. Getting the buy-in of the people who are actually using the system is invaluable, and makes a successful project and that all important return on investment much more likely.
Getting buy-in and a strong level of support from your entire organisation for your ERP implementation project will help you make it as a successful as possible, and demonstrate that all important ROI. If you would like any help building a business case and a project plan for your ERP project, just get in touch.