I met with an good friend and former colleague last night. I've made many mistakes over the years (who hasn't?) but one thing I've done well is to stay in touch with TOP NOTCH people. After all, people are the 80/20 of success. Thus, although we haven't worked together in 16 years, we have stayed in close touch and compared war stories along the way. We both focus at least partly on ERP projects. I'm an expert in ERP selection and design (check out my related proprietary process ACE to learn more), and she is an expert in Oracle and ERP applications and implementation. Thus, there is always ample room for animated conversations.
We both have come to the conclusion that although ERP can provide DRAMATIC results for the right client at the right time with the right software and especially the right people, it will require hard work and there will be obstacles to overcome. Thus, it is best to be aware of this up front and plan accordingly so that you become one of the success stories. There are secrets to success; however, these secrets are not "magic weapons" - there is no avoiding focused, detailed work yet it will pay off in the end.
One tip to implement this week:
If there was ever a subject that couldn't be impacted in a week, it is ERP. With that said, I take that as a challenge and have come up with action items:
If you are thinking about upgrading your ERP system, do your homework up front. Do not jump into the "fun part" of evaluating softwares right away. Start with your business requirements. What do you need your system to support to be successful? Bells and whistles will not grow the business and increase your profitability; however, key functionality tailored to your needs will!
If you are in process with ERP, don't panic! Take a step back and make sure you have your "A" team focused on this topic as it will have a significant impact on your business - and it is best to make sure it will be positive instead of disruptive! Start with your internal team. Then, move on from there.... Do you have strong (and only the best) support team members from your software supplier, experts in process and systems etc.? Don't move on until this is addressed.