ERP and CRM Projects – Conditions for Success

Your Evaluation Team have made their decision on your preferred ERP or CRM Vendor and Solution and you are now ready to move forward with the Design and Implementation Stage.

There is usually such a strong race to the finish to select your preferred Vendor and Solution that this Stage sometimes starts with a lower level of focus as the project team is engaged, agreements are finalised and vendor resources are allocated.

Your Vendor will be expecting your company to drive the overall governance and project management for the implementation. It is imperative that as the client, you take the lead early and define and manage the key implementation workstreams. You also need to understand where things can go wrong (typically scope creep), the impact of costly mistakes and to ensure that you have a specific and detailed risk and mitigation plan in place.

The steps that come next are critical to the success of any project

Key Workstreams

Below is a list of the key workstreams to consider in your planning.

Your independent ERP or CRM advisor or client-sided Project Manager will take care of most of these, but your senior management team will still need to be engaged, enthusiastic and committed to ensure that the project progresses as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

The following workstreams will underpin your Conditions for Success

There are common patterns that can be observed in projects that succeed and projects that fail. The symptoms underlying the reasons why projects fail usually include:

  • Finalise Due Diligence, Commercials and Legals – Ensure your Project Manager understands exactly what the contractual obligations of all parties are.  Milestones should reflect in the project plan and budgets.
  • Establish Project Governance, Scope, Status, Risk and Budget Control – Understand and agree the project methodology to be used.  This includes preparation of the detailed project plan to underpin earned value visibility and enable scheduling of resources.
  • Ensure Design Workshops and Agendas are clear and appropriate attendees are committed and engaged – Decisions, issues, customisation requirements, test scenarios and the training approach need to be documented in the Design workshops by your client sided Project Manager.
  • Commence Data Cleansing and Migration Planning activities – This area requires early and dedicated focus to ensure the new systems are not polluted with poor data. This is a once off opportunity to get master data quality right.
  • Ensure Master Data Planning includes ongoing focus and effort – this includes implementing corporate master data governance and accompanying data policies, as well as staff training and commitment.
  • Commence User Acceptance Test Planning – with particular focus on the approach, test scenarios, test cases, issues management and status visibility.  Committing the right resources in the business to ensure end to end processes are tested, including adverse situations is key.
  • Start Planning the Training Workstream –Training Needs Analysis needs to ensure all staff requiring training are identified and mapped to training courses for go live.  This workstream also has responsibility for training material development and LMS requirements.
  • Begin Change Management and Transition planning early – The impact on staff job descriptions, altered responsibilities and Corporate communications requires detailed planning and support.  This area will also manage site Change Impact Assessments and Planning.

The key is to start these workstreams early and ensure they are well resourced and carefully managed.