How to Prepare for an ERP Implementation Without Impacting Daily Processes

Early on in an ERP implementation for the public sector, it's important to consider three things about the team: quality, quantity, and availability of your staff. If there are any shortcomings in those aspects, the risk of the project failing increases tenfold. Although it may feel uncomfortable in the short term to reassign people's duties, putting the right people on it from the beginning will work out in the long term.

There's a subtlety to the way more people get involved in a new system, especially your critical stakeholders. The sooner they become comfortable with it, the sooner they can help make other people they're working with comfortable with it. It's so important for the users to hear that even though the processes may change, everything will be okay because this new system will be actually better once we get used to using it. Effective change management and ensuring all the resources are available is a key function of the executive leadership of these projects.

Almost every project that we have seen fail (or even worse, go live before they were ready to a disappointing result) has been because they didn't have the right resources assigned to the project, or the right resources to make the right decisions at the right level. It's easy to say we need the best people for a certain period of time, but the reality of doing that is much more difficult. One strategy that we've seen work is to backfill those people before the project even starts so that those resources can hit the ground running.

When you're making important design decisions, you can't have one of your key people being pulled away from those meetings periodically during the day to do other things. Instead, you want to pull aside the person who knows about the operations of the relevant department and make the most of that knowledge transfer. At the same time you need to bring people on board at the lower level to train before you start. It's too hard to replace those senior level people since they typically have 10 years or more of institutional knowledge, so instead you want to bring some additional staff in to take the burden off of the fact that somebody is going to be gone.

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