14.02.2009

In the Course of Managing an ERP Implementation Project...

The meeting was attended by the entire senior management, members of the ERP implementation team and the project managers from both the customer and the vendor. In fact, since all top level management were also members of the ERP implementation team, they were present at the meeting under both designations. Indeed, this was how it had to be. Their input was required during the project kick-off phase, in the evaluations following analyses, and for all critical decisions within the scope of the ERP implementation. Both sides are now charged prior to the start of the meeting. Following a lengthy process, the customer seeking to implement their ERP system has reached a decision and signed an agreement with the ERP system vendor which it felt would satisfy all of its requirements. There is a lot that is waiting to be done. Project teams of both sides that had already been formed are introduced to each other at the meeting, and the goals and milestones contained in the project plan, prepared earlier by the vendor, is revised throughout the meeting. A new project, born out of necessity, is now getting under way, its goals are being set, and a plan is being prepared and put in place to achieve these goals.


The meeting was attended by the entire senior management, members of the ERP implementation team and the project managers from both the customer and the vendor. In fact, since all top level management were also members of the ERP implementation team, they were present at the meeting under both designations. Indeed, this was how it had to be. It has been two months since the last meeting has been held. The ERP consultants, having performed the necessary system analyses, have completed the corresponding system configurations, ran training sessions, transferred data into the system, and arranged for any additional reporting and printout requirements. Data input into the test database is still going on, and in parallel, the status of the system implementation and the specification of the date to go live will be decided in this meeting. The go-live date will then be announced to end-users and they will be asked to complete their final tests and preparations by the announced date. Significant responsibilities lie with the customer's project managers to provide guidance to their end-users, and in turn with the vendor's project managers to resolve any issues identified by the customer's end-users, or to provide work-arounds for those issues. 

The meeting was attended by the entire senior management, members of the ERP implementation team and the project managers from both the customer and the vendor. In fact, since all top level management were also members of the ERP implementation team, they were present at the meeting under both designations. Indeed, this was how it had to be. It has been two weeks since going live with the system. While the ERP consultants are providing support for live use, the end-users are hard at work to keep accounting balances, inventories and other data up-to-date. The topic of the meeting is to determine and evaluate the responsibilities for both sides so that the high priority task of processing balances can be completed by its associated deadline, and preferably sooner. Both sides display a certain urgency and stress associated with meeting the deadlines. At this stage of the implementation, morale and motivation are extremely important for both sides. After all, this is the most critical phase of the implementation project. 

The meeting was attended by the entire senior management, members of the ERP implementation team and the project managers from both the customer and the vendor. In fact, since all top level management were also members of the ERP implementation team, they were present at the meeting under both designations. Indeed, this was how it had to be. It has been four months since the start of the implementation project. The ERP system is in live use, incorporating basic system functionality. Support for live use is continued to be provided by the ERP vendor. In the meantime, minor requests trickle in from end-users. Inventories are being monitored smoothly, planning is being performed correctly, job orders are being issued and completed, sales and purchase orders and invoices are being recorded into the system and in parallel, being integrated into accounting, and finally, all accounting entries are being made available for monitoring through the entire system. Online data monitoring from a central point has considerably eased operations and provides a significant convenience to the organization. However, was it not for providing accurate cost data and providing capacity planning that the ERP system had been procured in the first place? In this meeting, the deadlines for achieving these two capabilities, as well as the responsibilities of both sides for achieving related goals, will be determined. After all, these two capabilities are the topics in which management is particularly interested. As for the other tasks, they will continue to get done as they have always been, through the use of the legacy system. 

The meeting was attended by the entire senior management, members of the ERP implementation team and the project managers from both the customer and the vendor. In fact, since all top level management were also members of the ERP implementation team, they were present at the meeting under both designations. Indeed, this was how it had to be. The topic of the meeting did not directly involve the implementation project. After all, following a six month long system customization period, the organization in question can now generate any required report from the system, determine actual costs, and in order to improve their models, revise the results of the capacity planning that has been performed. Indeed, the sales representatives are now turning in their orders using PDAs. The topic of today's meeting is to place the ERP system online as soon as possible at the other facilities owned by the organization. Yet, a few words by the General Manager of the organization indeed directly referenced the implementation project described earlier:

"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this project". 

Final thoughts: The Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan was quoted as havıng said: "The resistance of a fortification is no less and no more powerful than the warriors guarding it." We should all keep in mind that at each and every phase of an ERP implementation project, the success of the project depends on the teamwork displayed by all involved, from the project managers to end-users, as well as on our contributions to the project and our skills. 

The project phases described above will vary based on the magnitude of the project, as well as the productivity of the customer and of the vendor.

Dilara Gurdal 
Director of Consultant