Kickstart your Digital Transformation or ERP implementation Before It Begins

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: April 25, 2018

It’s no secret that most digital transformation and ERP software projects fail. Based on the dismal success rates, it is important to kickstart your project to ensure you gain momentum from the start.

Whether your digital transformation or ERP implementation initiative is a success or failure is largely determined before your project ever starts. The decisions you make early on will determine whether you will reach that seemingly elusive third stage of success, so it’s important to have a solid game plan from the start.

Here are some key things to keep in mind before you begin your ERP implementation or digital transformation initiative:

Define a clear enterprise and digital strategy before your project ever starts

Define a clear enterprise and digital strategy before your project ever starts

Digital and ERP projects tend to go awry without a clear digital and technology strategy and roadmap. Too often, organizations want to jump right into an ERP software selection and implementation without having a clear vision and strategy for the project. As a result, they end up missing out on big opportunities to leverage technology to generate massive improvements to their businesses.

A well-defined digital transformation strategy, on the other hand, will help ensure that you have clear direction, widely understood goals and objectives, and prioritization of limited resources. It helps ensure that you are choosing software that best fits your long-term needs and strategic direction. It helps save time and money – especially in the long-term.

Don’t spend too much time and money on your ERP software selection

Don’t spend too much time and money on your ERP software selection

With the number of options in the market, it’s easy to get caught in analysis paralysis. The leading ERP vendors, their smaller competitors, and even upstart software firms provide a range of viable options to companies of all industries, geography, and size.

If your ERP selection process or consultants are leading you down a path of an exhaustive long list, requests for information (RFIs), or overly detailed and unprioritized business requirements, then one of two things is happening. Either 1) your consultants and team members are spinning their wheels because they don’t know enough about the ERP software space, and/or 2) you are spending too much time on money that could be better spent elsewhere.

if you’re about to start an ERP software selection, think about how you can strip down the process to the bare essentials, leverage outside experts to get you there quickly, and focus more of your time on implementation. This will help you achieve success where so many fail.

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Control the tempo of your transformation initiative

It is important to view your digital transformation as a marathon, not a sprint. With this in mind, it is important to pace yourself and control the tempo of the overall initiative.

This tenet should begin in the early stages of your project. Begin with clearly defining your long-term vision and strategy, followed by defining your new and improved business processes. Once you have selected the technology that best fits this future-state vision, be sure to spend time carefully designing your business processes and technical configurations before jumping straight into implementation.

Slowing the tempo of your project may seem like it is costing you more time and money, but your savings will be exponential in the long-term. In addition, the actual implementation will be smoother and less disruptive than if you rush into implementation without having your house in order first.

Make sure your house is in order before implementation

ERP software vendors are notorious for convincing buyers to sign on the dotted line and prematurely jump into implementation before they are truly ready. It’s important to have a strong foundation with your house in order before rushing into your project.

For example, you will want to make sure you have clearly defined your business requirements, a first-cut of your desired business processes, and a clear strategy before beginning your selection and implementation projects in earnest. This will help save time and money, while also ensuring that you choose and implement the technology that best fits your future needs – rather than solutions that simply automate your already inefficient business processes.

These tips will ensure that you are heading into your ERP or digital transformation project with momentum rather than losing steam.

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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