ERP Project Team: Anatomy of an ERP Team Part 4 – Non-Business Processes

After the business process implementation teams are established, think about structure for the “non business” aspects of the ERP implementation.

You will need basis people. They will install the software on a dedicated hardware platform, keep it running smoothly, and keep the various test clients in proper synchronization. You will need a technical team to create development objects, and assist the functional teams with technical problem solving. You will need to coordinate closely with your web developers, and your EDI team to make sure you do not lose functionality as you go forward. You will need security people to design and administer the access people have to the system, consistent with corporate policy.

ERP Project Manager & IT Director Relationship

These “perimeter functions” may or may not report to the ERP project management. The natural inclination will be for the ERP project team to focus on business issues, not technical issues, hence perimeter teams continue reporting through normal IS channels as a shared resource. How well that works or not depends largely on the relationship between the ERP project manager and the IT director, so personnel chemistry is important.

Next, figure out where your master data creation and maintenance organization belongs, and where it will reside after the ERP implementation, organizationally. Again, there is no silver bullet answer for how this should be in your organization; the requirement is that there must be clear accountability to project management during implementation. When crunch time comes, completeness of master data will likely determine whether you implement on-time or not, and quality of the master data will determine the quality of the implementation. After implementation, governance of master data will quickly emerge as a strategic issue for the company, particularly for companies big enough to require several implementation phases.

Free Research Paper: Six Steps To ERP Implementation Success

A brief piece of advice: do not invest in business intelligence resources until just before your first go-live. Business intelligence, by definition, requires data, and if you spend a lot of money doing development work on a few pieces of data in a test client, you are essentially building a sand castle.

Pain of Change

Lastly, it is impossible to over-invest change management resources. One interesting artifact about an ERP implementation is that everyone in the business unit assumes that they are being kept in the dark; when you communicate a decision that is approximately thirty seconds old, expect the reply to be “Why haven’t I been told about this before?” The project team will have its hands completely full and the last thing they need is constant organizational resistance, weighing on them additionally like a backpack filled with rocks. There are proven techniques that allow change management to be a repeatable engineering process, and not an art form. Invest in making sure that everyone in the organization has been communicated to, that they understand that change is coming, and – in public, at least – commit to supporting the change.

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Richard Barker

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Richard Barker