December Blog Series: Spreading the Joy
Insights from: Emir Dobraca (Fullscope Account Executive) and Sharon Long (Fullscope Senior Business Analyst)
IT personnel recognize the challenges of upgrading current ERP systems, but often times they are not encouraged to proactively seek new long-term sustainable ERP solutions due to a myriad of reasons including budget concerns, work load, a shortage of user time to regression test the current system or even a lack of business availability to review the strategic advantages of the improved functionality offered in upgrade. Instead, IT teams are often asked to do the bare minimum to fix and patch problems.
There is an overarching stigma that this is an IT project, but in reality it is a business project. There is a direct correlation between internal buy-in and the success of implementations. Identifying clear goals across departments is absolutely key. It creates an environment of collaboration, and it is the only way to avoid misaligned expectations.
It is imperative for all business decision makers to be a part of the process and be true sponsors of the ERP software upgrade. Therefore, empowering IT personnel to do what is best for the business is crucial.
The 3 Keys for IT Personnel
It is essential for IT personnel to clearly communicate the challenges and potential problems that may result from not doing anything. They must depict and illustrate what the status quo would mean long-term. By highlighting the benefits of upgrading the current ERP system and clearly pointing out what efficiencies will be created as a result of a new system there is a greater chance for successful goal alignments and internal buy-in.
Developing an environment that encourages collaboration can make a big difference for all involved parties. One possible solution is the creation of a project management office (PMO), which helps ensure a cross-functional business committee that prioritizes the work in IT and makes upper management responsible for the approval and prioritization of IT major spend projects. This can help ensure increased upper management involvement in the fast paced changes of the IT world that impact businesses processes, efficiencies, interactions with their customers, suppliers and employees.
Another collaboration initiative could be the creation of a Center of Excellence (COE), which consists of a team of professional resources across departments who are responsible for gathering, approving and prioritizing all process and system improvements for their functions and for the IT team. The COE also helps guarantee quality of the system deliverables, thorough testing of the changes and training within their business functions.
Businesses must realize that they won't buy an ERP system every day. ERP solution upgrades need to be based on technology changes and the demand for increased business functionality. Businesses look to IT to keep up with enhancements and customizations to the existing system, but when upgrades are delayed, issues with the current system may occur that would not otherwise had upgrades been done in a timely manner. Keeping up with software vendor developments and release plans that will deliver improvements for the business is critical to strategic planning.
As IT communicates the need to keep up with technology, the understanding of the business benefits should always be stressed. The PMO or COE will also help ensure that the resources available are not overcommitted—allowing projects to be completed on time and on budget.
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