The size and complexity of ERP project management makes it difficult, ERP implementation has two sides people and technology and there is hardly any part or employee of the organization that ERP does not touches and sometimes it is difficult to identify all the areas that an ERP project might affect. Technologically too, ERP deals with thousands of parts, software and interfaces which makes it a massive effort, and quite troublesome to maintain consistency and ensure full integration of all the modules, sub-modules and departments of the organization.
Even small projects need project team for execution hence ERP project management needs dedicated and well designed team with clearly defined objectives, steps and deadlines. Project team must have proper representation of all the departments and one representative of top management because ERP implementation might require some crucial decisions to be made. This team shall be headed by a proactive, motivated, ERP experienced, diplomatic, good decision maker and a quick learner project manager.
Documentation is another important aspect of ERP project management, the preparation of 'as is' and 'to be' documents shall be done before starting the actual implementation process by the project team. The 'as is' document shall cover even the minute details of the present functioning of the organization even of those departments or processes which may not appear to get covered by the ERP. The 'to be' document shall poses the details of new processes to be introduced and the changes required in the present processes, which is necessary to allow the new system to fit in and work at its fullest efficiency. The ways and methods of achieving these changes, which may include change in the work processes or customizing the ERP software itself according to the requirement, shall be documented in GAP analysis.
Dry run on the real data of the organization in the presence of all the stakeholders in the ERP project saves valuable time and money as well as it also gives complete picture of how the working would be with the new system and gives clearer view of any gaps left out in the system those needs to be corrected before deployment. This also gives a chance to the employees, particularly the lower staff which will be handling the software, to understand the effects and implications of their inputs on the working of the whole system. Rigorous training sessions after the dry run will provide more informed students in the class to the trainers who will have more realistic queries and appropriate approach in understanding their own role in the new system and understanding the power and shortcomings of the system.
Interfaces with the legacy systems and data conversion shall also be a part of the dry run or conference room pilot so that there are no scopes for surprises during deployment. ERP shall be tested for its interaction with other data sources via electronic data exchange and electronic fund transfer and with other client/server systems used by the business partners. Generalized success criteria for ERP projects are non-existent, the success of the ERP project shall be identified by matching it with the objectives of the ERP project defined at the start of the implementation and if these have been achieved in complete then ERP project can be called a success.
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