Fun with ERP Systems: Driving with the Windows Down

Written By: Brian Potts
Date: August 19, 2019

Walk into any business environment and mention “ERP systems” and watch for the looks of horror. ERP is a critical factor in nearly ever business across the globe, but the thoughts and memories of past implementations have left many with scars.

ERP implementations are hard, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Similar to being stuck a traffic jam, you can make the best of your situation and reduce the stress of your ERP implementation. With current technology you can listen to music, call your mother, roll down the windows or open the sunroof and get a tan.

Likewise, with and ERP implementation, consider to following tactics to make life easier and potentially even fun:

Consider the future state: ERP consultants talk non-stop about “future state” and there is good reason for this. The future state, with proper use of technology, can make life easier for everyone involved. Reducing manual efforts and improving analytic capabilities can increase profitability and job satisfaction. Keeping the end goal in mind is a strategy through any tough journey.

Get to know your co-workers: Process workshops, trainings and user groups provide an interactive environment that may not exist otherwise. Share the misery with others and make new friends in the meantime. Try bringing donuts to the next team meeting and see how many new friends you make.

Volunteer for a leadership role: There are plenty of opportunities to step up your game and value to your company during an implementation. Even if you don’t have the experience to lead a transformation in its entirety, there are opportunities for business process ownership, project governance or management support, training support, communications and other organizational change management activities.

Go to user conferences: If budget permits or you can swing passes from your ERP vendor, go party like a rock star in a big city. Most vendors hold conventions in places like San Francisco, Orlando, Chicago and Vegas. There are often big-name performers and sponsors hosting after-hour parties. There are also independent and technology-agnostic ERP conferences such as Digital Stratosphere. Tell your boss that you need to go for training but use the event for stress relief as well.

Read some success stories: ERP failures make great news, but success stories also exist and give us all hope. Take some lessons learned from both successes and failures and gain confidence that you and your organization can navigate this initiative with success. Most importantly, learn from these stories how to avoid ERP failure. You are supporting a critical initiative for your organization, but these types of transformations are happening every single day around the globe and you are definitely not alone.

The resume impact is significant: We no longer see workers staying with one company for their entire careers. We are also in a very competitive marketplace and having an ERP implementation under your belt is a huge boost to a resume. Be sure to take some level of responsibility that will transfer well and consider that this experience will earn you a higher salary and enable job security in the long run.

Remember that stress is self-inflicted: As German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, so eloquently stated, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” Consider the fact that you are learning, growing and creating value that will carry with you forever.

Of course, nothing makes ERP systems as fun as ensuring that the project truly transforms your business in a positive way rather than creating chaos. We’re here to help, so feel free to contact us if you would like a sounding board to make your project more successful – and fun!

Brian Potts

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