One question on the minds of many organization is, “How much time will be required from my internal personnel to make our ERP implementation successful?” Answering that question requires an analogy: implementing new ERP software is like changing the engine on an airplane while in flight.
With this in mind, let’s talk about why internal resources are essential, and how they can help your project succeed.
Three Levels of Engagement
If you’re working with an ERP consultant, they likely will recommend that you secure a certain level of commitment from three particular internal groups in order to augment external resources. Leveraged appropriately, the following groups can facilitate a more effective and results-driven digital transformation:
1. Steering Committee – This group includes executive sponsors such as members of your C-suite and board of directors. The steering committee sets the course of the project by ensuring that project managers understand how the ERP implementation supports the organization’s mission and vision. Throughout the project, they might participate in milestone meetings regarding software recommendations, business readiness assessments or organizational change management.
2. Core Team – These are your “work horses.” Depending on the size of your organization, your core team could range anywhere from 15 members to just a few. At minimum, you need representation from each of your organization’s functional areas because, when you think about it, an ERP implementation is really a business transformation. At key points throughout the project, your core team may need to devote their entire focus to the ERP implementation rather than their day jobs.
3. Subject Matter Experts – These are your “super users,” “change agents” and advocates for your project. Similar to the core team, this group should include representatives from each functional area. Subject matter experts should be particularly involved in requirements gathering, requirements validation and vendor demonstrations. While some department managers may be resistant to lending resources, your steering committee can work with them to ensure the right resources focus on the ERP project when necessary.
Now that you’ve lined up all of these internal resources, do you really need an ERP consultant? The answer is yes. However, you need to walk the fine line between the use of internal resources and external resources. Too many internal resources without enough external resources can mean limited expertise. On the other hand, too much reliance on external support, can mean a lack of project ownership, and your project will have questionable alignment with your organizational vision.
Only internal stakeholders can make the ultimate decisions on how your business will run going forward. Organizations that build a strong project team are more likely to see long-term results and business benefits from their ERP projects.