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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

October 2009

This month's issue brings to the forefront a question that is never far from the mind of anyone considering implementing an ERP system - WHY IS IMPLEMENTING ERP SO HARD? Read carefully and we'll see if we can make it easier for you. For those of you who missed the opportunity to join us at the AITP Garden State Chapter, - you missed the opportunity to hear Paul Sita speak about Selecting the right ERP system If you'd like a copy of the presentation, please email me at psita@innovativeitc.com.

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

If there's a single question that we get asked more than any other --this is the one. Why is implementing ERP so hard? And more importantly, how can we make it easier?

Asking the right question, get the right answer. If we take the time to unravel ERP - it starts with Enterprise. Anything involving the entire enterprise is bound to be complicated. ERP invariably replaces multiple systems performing some of the functions that it provides. Generally more functions are added as part of ERP. So, regardless of what your implementation strategy or scope is, you're probably migrating many departments and functions from something that they know well with something that they don't fully understand.

Where are you coming from?

Process, Process, Process. If you have flawed business processes, ERP is no quick cure. Changing flawed business processes is critical to ERP value realization, but when those processes, however flawed, are well established, resistance to change is very common. If you tfail to recognize that this is part of successful ERP implementation, you could be in for a rude awakening. Recognize the processes that have to change, and prepare for change, even if you are going to adopt the best practices of your chosen ERP solution.

Teamwork. Implementing ERP generally means going from a less integrated environment to a highly integrated environment, where no functional area is an island unto themselves. If your organization is not ready for this, you could have island warfare!.

Seeing the light. ERP is about change and transformation. The software is a tool, a platform to bring about change and adoption of new, better practices. As a change project that touches the entire enterprise, there is significant preparation and work required beyond implementing any given software application. This is why it's hard - but this is also why it holds the potential to deliver real performance improvements to your organization.

How can we make it easier? Read the above, then reread the above. Really take the time to let the impact sink in. Of course there's another way.

Hire an expert to be on your side. Innovative helps companies select and implement ERP for a living. It's what we do, and we're darned good at it. We're up to your challenge if you are, with the experience and leadership to help you succeed easier and faster. Don't forget that EXCELLENCE IN ERP is not a tag line, it's a commitment.

By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

We are finally at the end game of the implementation, the installation your solution, or the Install “Chunk”. I am very fond of saying that this is my second most favorite part of any project (I like the beginning of a project the best because I like to get involved in new things). Everyone’s hard work up to now gained the organization very little benefit. After this “chunk” is done the benefits of having a new (or first) ERP system become reality. But, of course, there are a couple of possible bumps in the road that you should be prepared for.

Knowledge transfer versus training. Many people are fully aware of all the technical things that need to happen in order to successfully install your solution. Likewise, many are equally aware of the many business things that need to happen, such as preparing for any “blackout” period where you take a “business-as-NOT-usual” approach. However, in talking with many people one of the areas most cited as a mistake was the lack of training.

Over the course of the entire implementation project the core team and the extended team members have gained significant knowledge about the software and probably about business processes they were not aware of before. We call that knowledge transfer. But the issue during this “chunk” is training the masses – all of the appropriate end users that have not been part of the project, but will use the solution in some capacity. There are many options for doing this; train the trainers, on-line training, formal classroom training, etc. The point is if you think you have planned just enough training for the users, you should consider planning more – maybe combining several options.

Things will get a little bit worse before they get a lot better. Many people think that once you install the solution you are finished with the project. Although you are very close to the end there will always be some issues that arise that were not anticipated. When planning out the installation make sure you leave some time after “go live” for the team to work through these issues. Like all of the work, the amount of time can be measured in days, weeks or months depending on the project’s size and complexity. My partner, Paul Sita, likes to call this the “dust-settling” period. Don’t choke on the dust by not recognizing there will be some.

This concludes the 5-part series on Implementing ERP. As a little insight into next month, however, don’t think that implementing ERP is a conclusion in and of itself. It is the beginning of a new way, of a transformation to your organization.

"What implementing ERP is really all about."

M R I F S N R T T A O A N O

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramble.

"A critical component of Project Management that is frequently overlooked". LEADERSHIP

More ERP essentials delivered right to your in box. And look for contributions from key Innovative partners. Don't forget to visit the new INNOVATIVE WEB SITE and let us know what you think.

Why is implementing ERP so hard?

Implementing ERP isn't new - but it's still difficult, and failures are all too common.

Tip of the month.

Implementing ERP - "Chunk 4", Install your solution.

This month's word scramble.

 

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