Active Executive Sponsorship & Proper Resource Assignment: Keys to a Successful ERP Project

When comparing on premises and cloud implementation in terms of success criteria, the biggest criteria time & time again is executive leadership and sponsorship. What these two things do is set the vision and help people understand why you’re going through this migration, what’s in it for the organization, what are the expectations, etc. In making sure all of that is communicated to the organization, they establish governance, which is vital to the success of a project. This is a term that gets kicked around a lot and can mean a lot to different people.

Here’s our short definition of governance: a person or a body, meaning three or four or however many people, who are authorized to say “yes” for everyone. Unlike a commercial hierarchical organization, where the CEO is calling the vast majority of the shots and whatnot, public sector organizations are usually much more collegial atmospheres. People want to collaborate with others to improve their constituents’ lives, which is the exact attitude you need for an ERP engagement. You need a group of people that can definitively say, yes, we're going to do this, or no, this isn’t going to work for us.

So, that's the first piece in terms of governance. The reason is that you really need to be able to make certain changes if you're going to do it the right way. The second piece is improper resource assignment. While this could be budget, most of the time it means people. One of the things we find out when we meet a leadership team is the executive steering committee’s involvement in the project. We must make sure we've got the right people available, which is something OSHA will do.

They'll say that someone is going to work on this project for nine months, but we can't have them gone for that long. If they aren’t doing their job, your organization won't be able to survive, so a solution for backfilling these resources is required. These projects give you what you put into them, so you have to put the right people on and get them to make informed decisions about how to configure the new system. If an implementation partner doesn’t have those people available, then they end up making a wrong or inaccurate or incomplete decision that bites into the project down the road. Remember – the farther into the implementation you are before discovering a real problem, the more expensive it is to correct.

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