Here at Bennett/Porter, experience has taught us that businesses recognizing the necessity of Enterprise Resource Planning system software are also clear-eyed enough to understand that ERP implementations can be incredibly challenging events for even the most organized company. The most forward-thinking ones frequently take this understanding into the realm of action by asking a couple essential questions. Who is best-suited to do the heavy lifting? Who can make the process a smooth and successful endeavor? The answer is: the project champion.
When you think of the word ‘champion’, what comes to mind? Most people probably think of their favorite sports figures, a respected social activist who supports a cause they hold dear, or someone who stood up on their behalf at some point in life. These people are considered strong leaders, advocates, and winners - all qualities that define what a champion is in both action and substance.
Our newest, free whitepaper available for download, Why Every ERP Project Needs a Champion, describes why a champion is an essential ingredient in order for ERP implementations to succeed.
ERP implementations are not for the faint of heart.
If you’ve been through an ERP implementation, then you know this truth: they’re hard. Implementing ERP system software takes a lot of time and effort, starting from finding the perfect ERP solution for your business amidst a myriad of choices all the way through to putting the new ERP technology into practice. And it doesn’t end there. As the report points out, “To really get the benefits of your investment, you need to start using the additional capabilities that the new system brings to the table - those things that were missing in the old system that were the main reason you decided to make the change.” The journey to growth and success is perpetual, and your commitment to an ERP system will result in an impressive return on investment.
The best way for this ERP journey to commence is for a core team of people taken from every aspect of the business - from the executive team to those who will be using the ERP technology daily - to be put in place. These people must be willing to continue doing their regular daily duties while also taking on the added responsibilities of replacing the old system with the new ERP software. One person in particular - the implementation project champion - must be game for taking the lead.
“The project leader/champion is responsible for maintaining the interest and enthusiasm in the team that brought the initial implementation to successful completion,” the report says. “ERP by its very nature is destined to grow and change as does your business. Every company needs an ERP champion to keep that vision alive and lead the company forward to new competitive strengths from smarter, better information management.”
Download our free whitepaper
Why Every ERP Project Needs a Champion
and start the search for your project champion today!
What exactly does the champion do?
Honestly, it may be easier to ask, "What doesn’t the champion do?" This person's role is significant and demanding, and at some point it touches all the other roles of the duration of the project. Yet before we discuss specific responsibilities, it’s important to explain what position this person holds in the organization.
He or she is a member of the executive team who recognizes the system change as necessary from the start and has pledged to support the process from beginning to end. Ideally, this person has past project management experience. At a minimum, however, he or she has the robust communication, organizational, and planning skills that will keep the ERP project on track.
If you download our whitepaper, you’ll read about three customers with these essential qualities who have been spotlighted for their roles as champions during their Acumatica ERP implementations: Cliff Walters, Francisco Callegari, and Simone Cassar Parnis.
Here is a brief synopsis of what these successful individuals say champions do:
- Secure “executive team commitment” and make it visible throughout the entire project
- Understand that selecting and implementing the new ERP technology must be led by the users and that the champion is a “facilitator, cheerleader, and trusted advisor”
- Communicate the project’s “progress, accomplishments, challenges, and needs” to the executive team, while keeping the lines open with the future users of the ERP system software
Champions by definition need to be strong advocates; ready to fight for the success of their ERP implementations and having the endurance to stick with it.
Choose your champion - and your software - wisely!
While reading the whitepaper, you’ll hopefully recognize the importance of having a champion when implementing your ERP system software as well as learn more about the qualifications a person needs to be such a champion. Their position in your organization, their leadership abilities, and their passion for the ERP project are just some of the measures by which you choose your ERP technology advocate.
Similarly important, the actual ERP solution you choose, and that your champion will be leading the charge around, should undergo intense scrutiny and be measured by a high standard. Is the ERP system software you’re considering cloud-based and able to integrate with all of your processes and other systems? Does it offer the benefits of mobility, adaptability, and efficiency while supplying a single view of your entire organization? How does the team behind it address the unique challenges of ERP implementations?
Contact us if you and your champion are ready to work with a partner who understands the quest for growth in a time when technology preferences are rapidly changing.