Don’t Let the Ball Drop on Your 2021 Digital Strategy

You’ve strategized and cultivated your approach to your 2021 digital strategy, and you’re coming up on execution. It’s important to be aware of the gaps that ultimately lead many companies to ERP failure. If you successfully plan out your transformation, the only ball that will be dropping this New Years will be the one in Time Square.

Avoid the common pitfalls below and incorporate mitigation plans into your overall strategy to keep your new year’s objectives intact from the beginning of the year to end.

Clouded Software Selection

The first, and arguably the most important step in a digital transformation is picking the right software to integrate into your operations. Whether you select a best-of-breed software that’s focused on a certain section of your business, or a full ERP software that can streamline operations across the organization, be aware of one thing.

Your search in finding the right software will be clouded by the biases found in the media and likely in the recommendations your consultant is offering you. Unless you bring on an independent, technology-agnostic consulting firm, or uncover countless articles and information on various software vendors, you are adding to the pockets of the vendor’s affiliates. Many consultants and media outlets alike are active affiliates for companies like Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and many other leading software solutions. They receive a commission on the software you land on, and ultimately, the recommendations you will get will not always be in your best interest.

The last thing you want is to try to push a square peg into a round hole by selecting software that doesn’t tend to your needs. The only way you will get a true fit software recommendation is if you either do tremendous research and dig deeper beyond the surface level media or bring in a technology-agnostic consulting firm such as Third Stage Consulting or one that operates on similar virtues.

Another thing to be cognizant of is that some software vendors will lowball to the total cost of the implementation, and disregard the customizations and added functionalities in the initial RFP process. Make sure to discuss the cohesive needs of your organization with the vendors and dig for all hidden or extra costs that might come up from the beginning of the conversation. Make sure to keep your expectations aligned with what the final result will entail, and keep your whole team on the same page as well. Don’t let a software vendor get you too excited about elements that are not necessarily relevant.

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Misaligned Leadership

Misalignment can occur between divisions, regions, and departments of an organization. After all, each arm of the business is working on its own tasks and objectives. The only thing sewing them all together is the leadership at the top - the eyes and ears that oversee every aspect. Leadership typically understands the different facets of the business. When the leadership team is walking forward in alignment, then their respective departments and regions will do the same, bringing the project full circle.

If the leadership team is not walking in alignment, the company, at large, will experience silos that could inhibit the full optimization of a digital transformation. It’s important to over-communicate and ensure the alignment of leadership across the board. Starting from the business plan and ending with a successful communication strategy for go-live, it’s important that all eyes see the same thing when looking at your ERP implementation plan.

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Subpar Change Management

Executive alignment plays a large role in organizational change management as well. The trickle-down effect of a unified approach will help move the organization to the new page, but it’s also important to reach down and ensure that every department, team, the employee is included in the transition as well. How do you do that?

  • Roll out ample training resources for users that will be utilizing the new software. This includes ‘how-to guides’, training sessions, round tables, and any other mediums you believe your team will benefit from.
  • Include as many different teams as you can in the implementation to create a sense of ownership and inclusion in the rollout.
  • Ensure your team has a clear communication plan in place from the inception of the digital transformation to well after go-live. Incorporate different communication channels such as email, meetings, presentations, round tables, etc. It’s more than just a simple email out to the organization.

We are all excited for the new year ahead, and our strategies are likely reflective of turning a new page in business. As you venture into executing your new strategies and objectives in 2021, stay aware of the pitfalls while you relentlessly pursue your goals in the new year.

If you would like to discuss your 2021 digital strategy in more detail, feel free to contact me directly. We are happy to be your sounding board to ensure your digital transformation efforts are set up for success.

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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