Successful Digital Transformation and ERP Software Initiatives

Mike Davis

Mike Davis,
SAP Program Director, MJDNET.

I’ve been an independent ERP consultant for over 25 years now and I would like to think that I have always had the best of intentions for my clients. In our industry it is hard to believe that the failure of so many organisations (and their consulting partners) to reach that ideal state of a complex digital transformation. Granted these initiatives are always peppered with landmines and risks, yet few seem to know how to navigate them very well if at all — despite decades of history and lessons-learned exercises to draw from.

It's not Rocket Science

To be truthful the answers aren’t really that complicated, and they certainly aren’t rocket science. There are distinct things that make certain projects succeed and fail, below is a brief summary of things to think about.

Key Stages of ERP Software and Digital Transformation

There are four distinct stages to an ERP software project or digital transformation. Unfortunately, many don’t achieve the aims or goals of the first two:

1. Building a Business Case

2. Project Inception.

3. Completing the Implementation.

4. Digital Transformation is completed

Digital Transformation and ERP Software Initiatives.

Everybody in the house say ‘woo’

Those that complete a full Digital Transformation leveraged the benefits of that successful implementation and transformation. They have figured out how to launch their initiatives to greater heights and success.

Here are the key criteria needed to reach a successful delivery.

Fast-track software evaluation and selection.

An effective digital strategy and ERP software selection process can be an effective way to gain alignment and chart a clear path forward, but it’s also easy to get lost in analysis paralysis. The most effective organisations don’t get bogged down in a cumbersome evaluation and selection process or hire inexperienced consultants with little hands-on implementation experience to guide them. Instead, they used experienced and unbiased resources to arrive at the best effective quickly so they can invest more time and money in implementation. (See the article Building the Right Consulting Relationships and Part II)

Focus on Organisational Change Management

Most people understand Organisational Change Management (OCM) at cursory level, but many have not learned the skills to effectively manage change. The best ERP consultants know that an effective implementation requires detailed change impact, organisational design, stakeholder and executive alignment, a benefits realisation plan, and a host of other organisational change strategies that go well beyond assessments and pretty Power Point presentations.

Investment in business process improvements and design.

It is of critical importance to define a clear and precise future state business processes, potential business process improvements, and leverage best practices from your industry sector. As part of this process design, we should define business processes, change impacts to people, and identify opportunities to implement process changes even before new technology is implemented. An investment in these business process management activities early on will save significant time and money in the long run.

Planning for benefits realisation optimisation.

If you don’t plan it, measure it, you probably won’t achieve it. Be sure to set clear and precise targets and measures not only for project justification purposes, but more importantly, to help manage business benefits going forward. Additionally, a benefits realisation plan will provide a good mechanism for governance during implementation and delivery.

Don’t leave your project’s success up to chance. Instead, focus on these and other key business best practices to help you reach successful outcomes, business goals and greater business performance.

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