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20 Things Every CIO Should Know Before Starting an ERP Implementation

In early December, Panorama hosted its first ERP Boot Camp for the public. Approximately 25 CIOs, IT Managers, and Project Managers attended the interactive 3-day training session, which was facilitated by myself along with some of the world’s other leading ERP experts.

One of our opening sessions on the first day of the event set the stage and served as the foundation for the rest of boot camp. In this 90-minute session, I facilitated a presentation on 20 things that every CIO and ERP Project Manager should know before embarking on an ERP implementation. Below is a summary of those 20 items:

  1. ERP is about your business, not the technology.
  2. ERP initiatives are very challenging.
  3. Selecting the right software is the first step in a successful ERP implementation.
  4. No ERP software is perfect.  All have their strengths, weaknesses, and tradeoffs.
  5. A business blueprint is the second step to an effective ERP implementation.
  6. Business process re-engineering should happen before, not after, you implement your ERP software.
  7. ERP software best practices and pre-configured solutions do not solve all the challenges of ERP.
  8. SaaS ERP won’t eliminate all of your risks, either.
  9. Your project will fail without adequate organizational change management.
  10. Executive buy-in and support is critical to ERP success.
  11. The “A-Team” is critical to ERP success.
  12. There is no “one size fits all” ERP strategy.
  13. If your operations and ERP system are misaligned, it’s probably not the software’s fault.
  14. Expectations are high, but most ERP implementations don’t properly define the “finish line.”
  15. Most organizations strive fore “no customization,” but most fail to do so.
  16. You don’t have to implement ERP all at once.
  17. In addition to planning, implementation is also about execution.
  18. If you don’t measure it, you won’t achieve it.
  19. It is important to recognize the “canary in the coal mine,” or signs that your implementation may be in trouble.
  20. ERP success and benefits realization is largely determined before the implementation starts.

While the above list just touches the tip of the iceberg of what was covered in the session, it should provide a good starting point for what to consider prior to embarking on an ERP implementation. We’ll cover this topic again in our next ERP Boot Camp, which is scheduled for March 9-11, 2011 in Denver, CO. Learn more or watch the video below for an overview of this unique 3-day training session.

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Written by Eric Kimberling

After 15 years of ERP consulting at large firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers and SchlumbergerSema, Eric realized the need for an independent consulting firm that really understands ERP. He began his career as an ERP organizational change management consultant and eventually broadened his background to include implementation project management and software selection. Eric’s background includes extensive ERP software selection, ERP organizational change and ERP implementation project management experience. Throughout his career, Eric has helped dozens of high-profile and global companies with their ERP selections and implementations, including Kodak, Samsonite, Coors, Duke Energy and Lucent Technologies. In addition to his extensive ERP experience, Eric has also helped clients with business process reengineering, merger and acquisition integration, strategic planning and Six Sigma initiatives. Eric holds an MBA from Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.

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