Building a Strong ERP Implementation Team: 4 Essential Tips for Success

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: May 28, 2024

Implementing a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is a significant undertaking for any organization. The success of this digital transformation depends largely on the team responsible for guiding and executing the implementation. Drawing from extensive experience in helping clients with ERP implementations, here are some critical strategies for building an effective implementation team to drive your ERP project to success.

1. Cultivate a Digital Mindset

A successful ERP implementation begins with fostering a digital mindset within the organization. This involves creating an environment that embraces digital transformation and is open to change. Encourage your team to see the ERP system as a tool for enhancing efficiency and driving growth, rather than just a technological upgrade.

2. The Role of Internal Business Analysts

One of the most crucial roles in an ERP implementation is that of the internal business analyst. Unlike external consultants, internal business analysts have a deep understanding of the company’s specific needs and processes. Here’s why they are indispensable:

  • Understanding Best Practices: Internal business analysts should be well-versed in industry best practices. This foundational knowledge helps in setting up effective processes and structures within the ERP system. For example, in a manufacturing setting, understanding concepts like bill of materials, MRP (Material Requirements Planning), and inventory control is essential.
  • Designing and Improving Processes: Business analysts are tasked with designing new processes and improving existing ones. They work on developing effective data structures that align with business requirements. This includes creating efficient workflows and ensuring data integrity.
  • Liaison Between Teams: During the implementation, business analysts act as a bridge between the system integrator and the organization. They facilitate communication, ensuring that the needs of the business are clearly conveyed to the technical team, and vice versa.

3. Reducing Dependency on External Consultants

While external consultants bring valuable expertise, over-reliance on them can lead to what is known as "learned helplessness." Building internal competencies is crucial for long-term success. Here’s how to strike the right balance:

  • Knowledge Transfer: Ensure that your internal team receives comprehensive knowledge transfer from the external consultants. This includes understanding the backend configurations, customizations, and any APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) needed to connect the ERP system with other solutions.
  • Data Management: Internal business analysts should handle data cleansing, testing, and troubleshooting. This reduces the need for external help and builds internal capacity to manage these critical aspects.

4. Building Internal Competencies

Developing a capable in-house implementation team ensures that your organization can maintain and optimize the ERP system independently. This involves:

  • Training and Development: Invest in training programs to equip your internal team with the necessary skills. Continuous learning opportunities help keep the team updated with the latest ERP functionalities and best practices.
  • Hands-On Experience: Encourage your internal team to take the lead on various implementation tasks. Practical experience is invaluable for building confidence and expertise.
  • Support and Maintenance: Post-implementation, your internal team should be capable of handling support and maintenance tasks. This includes making configuration changes, developing custom solutions, and integrating new technologies as the business evolves.

Conclusion: Creating an Implementation Team

Building a strong ERP implementation team is a strategic investment that pays off in the long run. By fostering a digital mindset, empowering internal business analysts, reducing dependency on external consultants, and developing internal competencies, organizations can ensure a smooth and successful ERP implementation. This approach not only facilitates immediate success but also positions the organization for sustained growth and adaptability in the future.

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At Third Stage Consulting, we're committed to helping organizations navigate the complexities of digital transformation, including building your implementation team. Whether you're embarking on a new transformation journey or seeking to optimize existing processes, our team is here to support you every step of the way.

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Eric Kimberling

Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.

Author:
Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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