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Why does project management play such an important role in delivering successful ERP implementations?

It goes without saying but implementing an ERP system in your business is a substantial and complex IT process that can impact upon all the departments across your business. Throughout the implementation stages, business practices may need to be adjusted as the new technology is integrated, which could have an impact on the daily routines of the employees in your business. 

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the project management is on point throughout all of the stages of any implementation. By taking your business throughout the whole process, setting the expectations for the project and meeting any challenges or problems head on when they crop up, your project management is vital in whether or not an ERP project will be successful. 

This is backed up by a number of statistics taken from studies that indicate that when ERP projects go wrong, poor project management is usually the main reason why they do! 

In our latest blog article, we discuss how important ERP project management is and how you can limit any risks associated with implementation failure. 

1) Get the right resources & manage them effectively 

Being able to effectively manage schedules around substantial projects can prove tricky, even more so when it comes to making sure that you have the right resources available when you require them. Therefore, a good approach to take is to review any potential time conflicts in the schedule and to allocate the appropriate resources. Time conflicts can arise for a number of reasons such as staff holiday, sickness or any other unexpected absences. 

This is where making sure that you undertake a critical path analysis is vital as it can help project managers to outline any roadblocks that could hinder the progress of the project. Furthermore, it can also enable you to highlight which resources are pivotal at specific points of the project and to make sure that those resources are available at the right time.  

To put this into context with an example, let’s say that you plan to create your ERP solution’s database on a Monday whereby you need the database admin to be around to complete that task. This may sound simple, however given how many tasks need to be allocated and the people required to complete each one can quickly become a right muddle without the right approach. 

2) Implementations will require changes in the business to be made 

By choosing to implement an ERP system into your business will mean that certain processes/guidelines will need to change which could have a significant impact on your workforce and other stakeholders. The new ERP system may have to change the way that you complete tasks so it’s vital that the communication both ways is good to ensure that this process is as smooth as possible. This is where change will need to be managed effectively and therefore cannot be underestimated. 

A project management team must collaborate together with all stakeholders across the business to make sure that any changes made are effectively communicated to those impacted and that your employees are fully trained and prepared to be able to use the new ERP system following the project’s completion. Things such as highlighting and relaying the benefits of the system in addition to communicating any changes that will need to be made to existing processes and procedures are vital. 

Therefore, putting together a comprehensive and detailed communication plan that addresses the needs of all forms of stakeholders in the business can prove very helpful indeed. This plan will need to outline the information that will need to be relayed, how often it will need to be sent and which channels will be used to do so. 

3) Ensuring the ERP system is up to scratch and up to standard 

To be able to make sure that the ERP system implementation is successful, you need to check whether or not the system meets the requirements of your business and that it meets the requirements of your day-to-day users. This process is often referred to as ‘quality control’ and therefore includes the testing, validation as well as monitoring of the system to make sure that it works as you expect it to. 

Therefore, the testing part of the implementation during the quality control stage should be carried out by members of your project management team. If this part of the process isn’t completed effectively, you could find that the system has a negative impact on your business performance, security or usability further down the line. 

4) Reviewing your ERP system after the implementation has been completed 

Once you have successfully implemented your ERP system, the project management team will need to conduct a review to evaluate how successful the implementation has been and highlight any areas where things can be improved. Activities include things like assessing the usability of the system, assessing how well it is performing and how it is currently meeting your specific business requirements.  

In addition to the above, the review will need to include feedback from your day-to-day users on what works well and what could be improved going forwards. From this, you will need to be able to plan to address these issues and to make the appropriate changes to the system. 

As well as the above, it may prove useful to undertake a cost-benefit analysis to assess whether or not the ERP implementation is providing your business with a good return on your investment. 

Next Steps? 

If you are a business that is implementing a Business Central ERP and feel that the project isn’t going as well as it should be and want to talk to us about our Microsoft Dynamics project recovery offering or are considering implementing Business Central for the first time and need some help in doing this then please do give our team of ERP experts a call today to discuss your specific requirements in greater depth. 

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