Implementation of information systems, especially ERP requires support from top level management, this is because the implementation of an ERP system that includes all departments in an organization / company will cause linkages between these departments.
This is the first key of the 8 keys to a successful ERP system implementation.
Decisions made for one department will relate to other departments and may conflict with one another so that it requires coordination from top management.
Not only coordination, there are frequent changes in business processes and / or policies, which are caused by the implementation of a new system.
Choosing a Project Manager for ERP System Implementation
Generally, like the Sales department, it needs flexibility, but Finance and Accounting need control.
Of course, without the support from top level management, it will be difficult to make decisions for the benefit of the company, but it is more in the interests of the department which ultimately causes the project to not run because the different needs cannot be found out.
Placing MIS (Management Information System) / IT (Information Technology) managers, as Project Managers
This seems like a very logical decision. Many still think, to replace the information system or implement ERP system, the IT department is definitely the most competent party.
Not that we underestimate the IT department, and to consider it incompetent, but base on our experiences doing SAP Business One implementation or larger ERP system such as SAP S4/Hana and Oracle E-Business Suite, there are several important success factors:
- Changes in the information system itself, wether it’s software, hardware, network systems and operating systems
- Business Processes or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are likely to change, including the roles and responsibilities of each user that may change
- Users will need to make some adjustments both in application and in new business processes
- Last but not least, and which is often overlooked is how the current data migration process to the new system
If we notice those factors above, 3 of the 4 factors are things beyond the authority of the MIS / IT department. Therefore, if the MIS / IT manager is placed as a project manager it will cause problems.
Project managers, for example, cannot make decisions related to business processes or decisions regarding policies.
Moreover, if in company organization, MIS / IT department is part of the Finance / Accounting department, where this is still common in small and medium-sized companies.
So it’s very very important, that top management see the ERP system implementation as a company-wide project and not an IT / MIS department project (“NOT an IT Project”).
Even though this seems simple, until today, there are still projects managed by the IT / MIS department.
We never get tired of giving feedback to colleagues or prospects.
Sometimes we also forced to postpone or cancel projects if we are required to work with the project manager from MIS / IT.
Placing Managers from Other Departments as Project Managers
Another thing that is commonly done is to place the accounting person as a project manager, because in connection with the supervision that needs to be done.
This may not be as bad as it seems in comparison to the MIS / IT department as project leader.
Only how neutral he/she is as a project manager can accommodate the needs of all departments, not just thinking about the departments that are under him.
Looking at the 2 cases above, the best candidate as a project manager is a GM (General Manager) or in the case of a small and medium company is the owner of the company.
So that politically, all teams in the company will support project activities.
Apart from the placement of the project manager, the selection of the project team is also very important
Top-level management also has to choose who will be placed on the project team.
Due to the busyness of day-to-day operations, this selection is often based on the busyness of the work at hand compared to its role in the company.
The requirements of the team involved must understand the day-to-day operations of the company, then also be able to think about the company’s future development. Lastly, be able to communicate well.
Placing a new person on the project team, because of his experience in implementing systems elsewhere, is one of the most dangerous assumptions.
Because the new person has not mastered the existing process in your place.
There are still a lot of other support needed from top level management in implementing ERP systems, but the selection of project managers and project teams is very important.
If this is wrong, it will certainly result in many challenges in the project journey.
7 other key points that influence the success of ERP system implementation: