The ERP Bad Guys: The C-Level Doubter

There are many people important to your ERP project. And there is one person who can almost single-handedly stop the entire project in its tracks if they are not controlled. Yes, I am talking about your company’s C-level. They have nice offices with good views and enough money to drive some fancy cars. Those cars are parked right near the front door so you don’t forget how important they are.

There are a couple of problems a lot of these people have. They tend to see the entire world from the perspective of their own profession. The CFO thinks of money, of course, but try to engage him in a conversation about the number of parts in inventory instead of the value of those parts. The marketing person got the prospect interested in the advertisement for your latest product. Actually making it and delivering it when they want…not a marketing concern.

Your Project Champion

You see the same kind of thing getting everyone at the less-than-C-level engaged in the ERP project. A lot of us have been trained to live, breath, and think in our silos. It takes constant effort and a lot of reminders to help the team remember this is an ENTERPRISE system. We all must be involved.

Recommended reading: Our guide to selling your ERP project to senior management will help you achieve executive level buy-in for new software.

Form up your teams. Develop your plans for testing, data conversion, training, and ERP go live. Carry out your plan and communicate, communicate, communicate. Most of the people will participate enough. Even the C-level executives usually will participate enough. Be sure you have at least one exec that is completely on the team. That one will help a lot keeping the others somewhat on the track. That one champion will talk the ERP project up at the executive staff level and will keep the others from robbing your resources.

Remember another key point: none of them got to the top level by being dumb. Just because they doubt the value of ERP does not imply a low IQ. Use psychology. Understand what drives them and use that language in your communication with them. Be sure you let them know what is in it for them.

You might find a way to use their arrogance to your own benefit. There is no textbook model to follow and it won’t be easy. But that is why you are in charge of the project so, find a way!

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller