“Employees have a lot on their plates right now.” “Some of the executives are taking vacations this summer.” “We don’t know if we can get the budget approved.” “Now’s just a bad time.” “Let’s wait to see what happens with the economy.”
Sound familiar? These are many of the reasons we hear when organizations say they can’t start their ERP implementations right now.
Unfortunately, there is never a good time to start an enterprise software initiative, but it’s something that most organizations need to further their businesses, scale for growth, increase revenue and improve delivery to their customers. In other words, it’s a necessary evil – and one that’s not easy to successfully pull off, either.
But there are a million reasons why starting your ERP project now makes more sense than waiting. Here are four considerations to help you determine if now is the right time:
1. Weigh the costs versus the benefits of starting your ERP software initiative now. There are certainly costs associated with starting your project now. Money, time, resources and heartburn are some of the things you can expect to invest in your initiative. However, in most cases, the benefits of a new system far outweigh these costs. In particular, be sure to look at how new technology might help you increase revenue, reduce costs, increase efficiency and make employees’ lives easier. Also, be sure to consider how much it’s costing you to not fix these problems – it is likely more than you think, especially when you consider the opportunity costs of waiting.
2. Develop an IT and ERP strategy roadmap. The proliferation of enterprise software options available today can be overwhelming, leading many to analysis paralysis. However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Create a technology-agnostic strategic roadmap for the various technology options that might suit your needs. Be sure to consider all options: SaaS vs. on-premise, single ERP vs. best of breed, standardized vs. decentralized systems, etc. Once you define some of these strategic variables and narrow the field, your decision will become much clearer.
3. Consider your alternatives to ERP. It may be that it really isn’t the right time to be biting off a big new ERP system for your entire organization. Perhaps an upgrade of your current system will deliver more low-hanging fruit at a lower cost. Or perhaps reengineering your business processes will do the trick. Whatever you do, don’t feel as though you necessarily have to implement a brand new system to improve your business. Consider your alternatives and weigh the costs and benefits of each.
4. Don’t confuse the need to wait with organizational resistance. Oftentimes, delayed ERP decisions are related to organizational resistance rather than a legitimate business reason. Organizational change management shouldn’t be a reason to postpone an initiative that will deliver tangible business benefits to your organization. Your organization should conduct an organizational readiness assessment to determine sources of resistance and identify how those barriers can be removed. This assessment should form the basis for your organizational change management strategy and plan.
Instead of finding reasons why now isn’t a good time, perhaps you should start thinking about business benefits in the long-term.