Upgrade ERP or CRM Without Leaping Off A Bridge

Upgrade ERP or CRM Without Leaping Off A Bridge

When your company embarks on the quest to upgrade ERP or CRM, something will likely inevitably throw the project off its intended goals; and could leave the internal stakeholders considering throwing themselves off something suspended high above water. OK, maybe it’s not quite that bad; however, A McKinsey & Company study(1)  found that large IT projects typically run 45% over budget – and 7% over estimated time – while delivering 56% less value than predicted. Yikes, talk about over-promising. No one wants to have to take responsibility for a project with those kinds of numbers. Fortunately, success in these initiatives happens everyday. It can be defined, measured, and achieved.

Here are some steps that should help keep you off the Brooklyn Bridge while keeping your project on schedule and under budget…

1. User Involvement

From the onset, the relationship between the implementation team and your company should be a partnership. Great teams work together and communicate. Establish roles and make sure everyone at the table understands what’s expected of them. It’s important for all relevant parties to be involved including stakeholders, end-users, and even leadership. Speaking of which…

2. Executive Management Support

Leadership should be able to provide much more than funding for the project to upgrade ERP or CRM. There should be engagement and a willingness to guide the project. This can help ensure that the budget can be reworked as needed to properly support the project. Additionally, being engaged with the project managers can help keep things moving quickly without the concern that things will lag while waiting for feedback.

3. Clear Statement of Requirements

This may seem like the most obvious, but a clearly defined scope can give your project a 13% boost in overall success or failure. The more customization and flexibility required, the more defined the requirements will need to be.

4.Proper Planning to Upgrade ERP or CRM

Reactive “planning” isn’t really planning at all. In fact, it’s often a sign of failure; and a major contributing factor  to the abysmal statistics we referenced earlier. It is better to recognize your company needs, research and determine the best solutions for your organization, and prioritize which upgrades/additions will best help your company. This type of detailed planning and forethought can save your organization  a fortune.

5. Realistic Expectations

This project will probably take time. The average implementation takes approximately 300 to 450 hours over 3 to 6 months. Your company will need to be upfront about the nature of your goals and uses for the software. Nothing derails a project quite like a misunderstanding regarding delivery date. This is why the term”go live” has such a powerful connotation to it.

6. Smaller Project Milestones

Sometimes projects can get bogged down if they aren’t broken into smaller components. Setting small milestones in a large implementation will help keep the project to upgrade ERP or CRM on schedule, and will provide consistent opportunities for measurement along the way.

7. Competent Staff

How IT and tech savvy is your staff? Can they effectively upgrade ERP or CRM on their own? Think really hard. Chances are, you have a couple of folks that will likely struggle with any new technology. Not a problem, your organization doesn’t have to be filled with Steve Jobs wannbe’s as long as they are experts in their field and willing to learn. Adjusting to a new system takes time for everyone. By communicating early in the process – and by providing adequate training – your staff will adjust in no time. You’d be blown away by the amount of people using CRM’s and ERP’s that have major tech limitations.

8. Ownership

Your project will require agility and industry insights. Internally, you will need a solid project manager who will be the best point of contact for all types of communication and can manage project conundrums that will inevitably arise. This is not the time for a first-timer.

“Upgrade ERP or CRM” Your Take: What issuess do you typically see derail new software projects? Leave your comments below.

Suggested Reading:

    • (1) McKinsey & Company study: Project Failure Rates

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