Do you have ownership of your ERP system?
2 Jan 21
2 Jan 21
It is possible to make a long list of what is important or even critical for a customer to succeed with their new ERP system. Most often, success depends on several factors that together contribute to a successful project. And it should be emphasized that the success factors can be linked to both the customer’s and the supplier’s efforts.
However, there is one factor that should get more attention when talking about success. And this applies to the customer’s ability to take ownership of their new ERP system. When reviewing the outcome of the nearly 1,000 projects in which HerbertNathan & Co has had insight into, it is clear that customers who have succeeded in taking “ownership” of their system before Go live have both become more satisfied customers and achieved more benefits compared to those customers who have not been able to go all the way in their ownership.
What is ownership then about?
This can be defined from both a short and a long perspective. When it comes to the short perspective, it is about the customer being so knowledgeable in the system and self-propelled before Go live that the vendor can almost stand by without having to contribute. When it comes to the longer perspective, it is about the customer succeeding in establishing an organization that actively and continuously develops its use of the ERP system.
In order to be able to take ownership before Go live, it is substantially necessary for the customer to work with testing, testing, testing and again testing. It is not enough to learn their normal standard flows, it is also important that the customer receives an understanding of the system’s logic and architecture in terms of process flows and transaction flows, which also includes understanding and knowledge of how the configuration is structured.
It is common for the testing before Go live to hack due to the lack of components in the configuration and user rights. The result is interrupted and lengthy tests where the focus is more on “getting through” instead of focusing on the overall efficiency of the process. It is also common for the test period to have the character of training instead of a test, which takes time away from the basic testing.
The training and updating of knowledge must take place earlier in the project so that the customer can carry out their tests with limited support from the vendor. And the customer should assume that the few training days that the vendor estimated during the selection process are seldom enough to reach the ownership that is needed, it should be assumed that significantly more time is required for training.
When it comes to ownership from the longer perspective, we touch on the area that most often gets the boring title “governance”. However, this concept feels a bit outdated and applies more to the time when you had a system staff who maintained the system from a technical perspective. When we talk about governance today, we mean more an organization that has the system’s continuous development as part of the ongoing business development. This means that the people who have roles in the business´s development also have a responsibility to develop the organization’s system support. And then an IT council that meets 2-3 times a year is not enough to reconcile all ongoing projects. It should instead be an ongoing and preferably monthly process to trim and develop the business.
There is, of course, a cost of being able to take ownership of the system. It requires a lot of working time to be freed from the daily work. This internal cost sometimes stands in the eyes of management and the board, which is why they often choose to hide the cost in connection with their investment request. It is forgotten, however, that it is the ownership that creates the conditions to calculate the expected effects of the system and is therefore also required to receive ROI.
“Measuring one’s ownership” should be included as a parameter when making the assessment of the customer’s ability to carry out a successful Golive.