7 Ways ERP Project Management is Different Than Most Internal Projects

Shane Rodgers

If you are planning a move to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system soon, congratulations. This is an important investment in your growth and long-term success. You’re about to revolutionize your organization in exciting new ways.

That said, if this is the first time you’ve managed an ERP implementation project—it will be unlike any previous internal project or software implementation you’ve experienced. The project will touch every department of your business – and nearly every person. The work will be well worth it, and with a strong partner on your side, transformative for your business. But the road to success in ERP project management will come with some hurdles that could trip you up if you are not prepared.

Below, we detail seven important stages in your ERP project journey to plan for and how they will impact your business and project management processes. 


1. Don’t Rush the Discovery Process

Any business looking to onboard an ERP solution should not go it alone. Working with an expert third-party partner that gets to know your unique organization and its needs will help you figure out how to ensure your ERP solution fulfills your goals. Assessing your needs can take time as the partner helping you procure, implement, and support the ERP solution must work with sometimes all your departments to understand your daily processes, data, workflows, and more – but these are all necessary parts of your personalized discovery process.


2. Allow Plenty of Time for Implementation

ERP project management requires a bigger investment of time and decision-making from your team than any other software implementation or internal project. Once you and your partner have determined a timeline for implementation, allow dedicated hours for your project leaders to devote to the ERP project so they don’t fall behind on their other responsibilities.


3. Establish the Right People on the Right Teams to Make Decisions

Implementing an ERP system requires a lot of decision-making from your staff throughout the project. From small, detail-oriented changes to broad, high-level shifts, you’ll need to allocate the right resources that are authorized to oversee these changes. Determine which people will be heading up your departments and making final decisions so your project does not become bottlenecked with confusion as to who can approve what decision. 


4. Get Ready to Manage Change Across Your Entire Organization

It’s important to get buy-in from your staff during an ERP implementation so no one is blindsided by change, and everyone understands how their day-to-day jobs will be different with ERP. The change will touch every part of your business – affecting every aspect of operations from finance to purchasing to sales and customer service. Communicate with employees well in advance of the ERP implementation to keep them informed about any changes and learning ahead. 


5. Set Realistic Expectations on Wishlists

It’s typical for each of your teams to make wishlists of what they want in the new technology. After all, they’re likely ready for more efficient processes and automation to make their jobs easier and more productive. But before trying to meet everyone’s goals with customizations in the ERP system, your partner may help you look at ways to improve your processes instead of making drastic and costly alterations to your software. Encourage teams to evaluate what is truly important to them and prioritize their wishes. 


6. Implement Systemic Training

ERP project management typically requires a “train the trainer” approach where your partner trains a small group of your internal leaders who will then, in turn, train more users. This system is a proven, efficient way to ensure all members of your organization are trained quickly helping you be more self-sufficient with training and onboarding users on your system moving forward.


7. Determine What Data Should Be Migrated Ahead of Time

One of the most time-consuming processes in ERP project management is migrating existing data into your new system – but it’s one of the most important. It’s critical to assess what data should be transferred to the new system, so allow for a significant time investment to gather data and validate it. Your partner will help guide you through the migration process but, ultimately, your team will own the decision of what data makes its way to the new ERP system.


Need help preparing for ERP project management?

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the steps involved in successful ERP implementation, but you should depend on your partner to help you through all of the above challenges. At Western Computer, we’ve been helping businesses like yours onboard and support ERP systems to achieve their goals successfully for decades. We’ve seen the transformative power of ERP, and we’re here to ensure you realize the full value of your investment. Contact us today to talk with an expert and start building your project plan.


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