If you are struggling to get budget for an ERP project within your company, read on.
This 3 part blog series cites key advice that has proved successful for your peers, irrespective of whether you work in the manufacturing or distribution sector.
Over the years, I’ve had countless conversations with managers that need ERP in their business but can’t get a project off the ground.
Interestingly, it’s not usually the cost of a project that is stalling progress, most ERP projects get benched because of deficiency in two primary areas – stakeholder buy-in, and time.
Simply put, if those with the power to green light an ERP project don’t understand the company-wide value of it, you will never get budget. And, if you can’t articulate why now is the perfect time to start, decision makers will keep kicking that ‘can’ down the road, letting other priorities override progression on a project that you know would positively transform the company.
If that sounds familiar, and you’re keen to learn ways to overcome these issues and get the green light on your ERP project, read on. This blog series cites the 3 key things you need to do in order to build a successful ERP business case.
Step 1 (below): Start with the Right Kind of Homework
Step 2: Gather Your Champions!
Step 3: Craft Your ERP Business Case Correctly
Lets get started.
STEP 1: Start with the Right Kind of Homework
Writing a business case that states you want to implement ERP in order to boost productivity / automate tasks / decrease costs / etc., simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
These terms are bandied around so frequently that they’ve become generic ‘noise’.
To put it bluntly; you could state, “we need to implement ERP to boost productivity, drive efficiencies, and increase competitive advantage”, but your decision-making audience only hears “yada, yada, everyone wants budget for the same thing, yada!”.
To overcome this, stop generalising about the results of an ERP project and get really specific about its impact on your company.
Take time to identify and list all the areas of the business that will be affected by an ERP implementation (finance, operations, manufacturing, warehousing, etc.).
Identify the key people in these areas (i.e., the people that the business can’t afford to lose), and then put your investigative hat on in order to gather details from them about:
Their specific pain points & bottlenecks (including facts and figures wherever possible),
What they’ve heard competitors are doing better,
What improvements they know customers/suppliers are looking for, and
What they’d love to automate in order to make their everyday job more enjoyable/easier/more productive.
This information is golden for two reasons. Firstly, its coming directly from key staff that are integral to the business. And secondly, it relates specifically to your company and its current operations, so decision makers can’t ignore its impact or pretend that the information doesn’t relate directly back to the bottom line.
For added impact, consider compiling a short video (simply taken with your phone) showing peoples responses to the question, “What would you most like to automate to make your job easier?”. The visual impact of watching staff / colleagues / friends talking about what would make their life easier is hugely powerful. And humanising the impact of an ERP implementation could go a long way to getting sign off on budget.
Next, you’ll need to identify at least one champion in senior management (or the Board of Management) that will advocate for your project.
Read STEP 2 of this blog series for tips on how to identify an advocate and get them on-board.