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

November 2010

Selecting software is grueling- but frequently fun. Demos are great. Then you select a solution and the reality of implementing the system hits home. What to do? Read our lead article for what to anticipate and tips on how to avoid a letdown.

And in the useful tips section John Pellegrino talks about Communicating "Up" during implementation.

Don't forget to read Paul Sita's ERP Blog Posts for the Sage Business Management Blog. Check out the latest post on Change Management - a topic that's critical to every ERP project. 7 tips and techniques for tackling change management.

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

From the Highs of the Demos. Let's face it. Software selection is a fun process. You the customer get to call all the shots. The vendors and solution providers have to dance to your tune. You get to talk about what you know best - your business and your issues and challenges. The vendors listen, write things down furiously, and vow to fix every last one. It's such a perfect world! Your people only have to attend meetings, pay attention (or make believe they're paying attention) and chime in occasionally. The professionals do all the driving. And let's not forget the vendors competing to win you over. Oh it can be quite a high. And then . . . .

To the medium of the selection. At some point the demos are over, and your team has to select one. Regardless of the methodology you are employing, (If you're our customer, you will definitely have one!) selecting the vendor is not easy. If your process is a good one, you have real viable options in front of you. Each one involves trade-offs. And frequently the vendor with the nicest and most capable people may not have the best solution. There's a bummer! But wait - there's more. . .

To the lows of the implementation. Oh yes, the reason you started this process - the implementation itself. That magical process whereby all of the company's ills and dysfunctional business processes will be instantly transformed. Oh no, we actually have to start doing things! You expect us to start driving and using the keyboard? We have to make decisions about how and where to shift workloads. And did we forget to tell you that we were really busy?

Reality hits home. There's no other way to say it. Implementing any ERP system is long, hard work. By its very nature (Enterprise) it will require levels of teamwork, discipline, coordination and just sheer determination that most organizations simply don't practice day in and day out. Many companies simply lose momentum right at the start when they realize everything that is required of them. Coffee and caffeine helps - but they aren't the answer! Here's the first step. Acknowledge this fact. Plan on this. While you're going through the "fun" of selection, have someone focusing on the Change Management aspects of the implementation to come. Engage a professional ERP consulting firm like Innovative IT Consulting to help with this. More to come on this critical topic after the holidays.

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

Panic attack! Communicating bad news is something that causes many a project manager a sleepless night (or more). However, it is one of the most important things to do to keep the anxiety level down on the entire team, including you, the project manager! Allow me to use a real-life example.

Live and Learn. When I first became a project manager in a consulting firm I was involved in a project that included development work being done by a third party. This development work was not proceeding as planned (how we went about rectifying that is a story for another day - or another issue!). This project was sponsored by the VP of Marketing at the client company and I was told that he could be a little rough to deal with. So, I tried to get the project on track without any conversation with him. Finally, the day came when I could no longer put off telling him that we were not getting anywhere and we would have to change our strategy. I got on the phone and told the sponsor what was happening. Much to my surprise (and delight) he calmly answered, I understand and we will do what is necessary to fix this, but in the future please let me know as soon as possible when something like this happens.

Dont Stop There. In most projects the sponsor is a member of the executive team of the company. Keeping the sponsor informed should be done at the core team meetings, but there are other members of the executive team (VPs, CxOs, Presidents, Owners, etc.) that must be informed, too. Scheduling regular meetings with this group is an essential part of keeping the project moving. Keep the meetings short and discuss things at a high-level, but remember to include the good, the bad and the ugly of the project. Most people will appreciate knowing the facts in a timely manner, even if it means having to change the strategy, timing or budget.

Deal with it. Most senior executives are good at making decisions and moving on. Many technical people aren't. Learn from the executives. In your role as project manager, the better you get at simply addressing the reality of the situation, the better your projects will flow - and everyone's stress level will be the better for it.

"One of the characteristics needed in an organization to implement ERP. (1 word )

S D I L C I I E N P

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Continued focus on the basics- blocking and tackling. (after all, football season is upon us) - and always more useful tips and techniques for staying sharp - right to your in box. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives. Amaze your friends and colleagues with your expertise!

From demo to implementation -

A wake up call!

Tip of the month.

Communicating "Up" during implementation.

Word scramble.

 

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