September 30, 2010

ERP Project - Key Sucess Factor 1: Top Management - Support & Commitment

Senior management support & commitment is one of the major critical success factors for ERP projects.

We'll try to understand this through some scenarios below:

Scenario 1: The ERP project team (Client & Vendor level) has been finalized and the project has started. One month later, your manufacturing head pulls out one of the team member for a QA initiative, just as you’re in the midst of product orientation / training & business requirement mapping discussion with the implementation team. Next month, a key Finance person vanish for an internal audit. Such changes would drastically impact the original plan and we'll be trying to catch-up to get back on track rather than being top of it.

Committing the planned resources available for the ERP project is one of the ways to show the top management support & commitment, which would help the ERP project Implementation to be successful.

Scenario 2: The ERP project team is finalized and the project sponsor (CFO) agrees to attend the steering committee meeting on a monthly basis. But he is not available for the first review meeting itself and asks the finance manager to attend the same. By default, the finance manager starts attending all the steering committee meetings.

In a normal circumstances, it is very difficult for the finance manager to envisage objectives & criticality of such an ERP project, with which the project has been initiated by the organization's top management (in this case the CFO!). Also, the finance manager might not have the authority to take key decisions on committing resources, business rules, investment etc., So effectively, the steering committee review meetings also become project review meetings which cannot take any decisions on time.

Delegating such tasks on an ERP implementation to lower management levels (who neither have competency nor authority) often results in
1) Delay in decision making
2) Missing deadlines
3) Lost sight of big picture!
4) Lack of team work

Top management support & commitment provides the following for the ERP implementation project:
1) Strong project leadership, as they set the direction & strategy for the company
2) Accomplish the project objectives & aligning these goals with strategic business goals
3) Puts the business first & uses technology as an business enabler and not vice versa
4) The business direction of the project, and creates the strategic imprint through active participation
5) Executive participation in an IT project creates visibility within the company that the IT initiative is important.
6) Compels the implementation vendor to put their best resources for the projects. The vendor's resources competency & expertise visibility to the top management has a strong bearing on the current project success and for provides scope for future business opportunities.
7) For IT Champions (CIO, IT Director, VP IT, IT Manager etc), involving top management participation for such projects, would help them to ensure that their expectations are met and would also enhance their career prospects!

7 comments:

  1. I feel that Strong project leadership is a very important and crucial thing and a little help in this will surely pay much more and help implementation.
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  2. I agree with Laren words dear. Strong leadership play very important role for successful of all small or medium projects.

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