Would you let your IT team lead your company’s next marketing campaign? Would you let your IT team lead the installation and setup of your newest production machinery? The answer is no because IT has little responsibility for increased sales or increased production. Then why are IT teams often placed in charge of leading the implementation of a business application that needs to be integrated into the processes of your company?
Is it because it is software and IT is responsible for all software? Is it because the application must be installed on a server or must be hosted at a remote location? Is it because the application must be installed on user’s desktops or configured to connect to the internet? Is it because they have the most available time to lead the implementation? Even if all that is true, the fact remains that ERP is a business application and not an IT application.
Too often a company purchases an ERP application, expecting big returns and then place success of the implementation in the hands of the IT team. Too often, this assignment leaves the company ultimately frustrated with the results of the implementation.
There is a reason you are implementing a new software and it is likely because your current software is not capable of doing the business processes your company currently performs. Do not make the mistake of believing that the software will be installed and setup to work like your current ERP application. The most successful ERP implementations are the result hard work by a strong team of company leaders that span all of the company’s departments and have responsibility for the final results of the implementation. That team first must understand the current business processes and current company needs. Next the team learns how the new application performs the business processes. The team must then determine the gaps between existing processes and the functionality of the application to design a plan to overcome the gaps. Afterwards, they construct the new business processes and the manner in which they are accomplished in the new application. Lastly, only after all business units have properly validated the application performance with company data is the application deployed.
In order to achieve a successful implementation of your ERP application, IT will be heavily involved in the roll out of the application and today many IT professionals have a very a strong understanding of the processes their company is seeking to achieve. But the responsibility of the success of the implementation should be placed with a company leader that has the best project management skills, the greatest understanding of the company’s processes, and has a significant stake in the results of the implementation.