In this third and final instalment of “Building a Successful ERP Business Case in 3 Key Steps” we’re finally sharpening our pencils and getting to the nib of the issue.
What info to include in your report to successfully ‘green light’ your ERP project!
Note: In part one of this blog series we spoke about the importance of completing the right kind of homework before putting your ERP business case before a decision committee. The primary take-away from this step was to stop generalising about the results of an ERP project and get really specific about its impact on your company.
Part two, highlighted the importance of identifying at least one ERP champion on the decision committee that will advocate for your project behind the scenes. The key take-away here is to solve your champions pain points with ERP, and then furnish them with all the details and company specific anecdotes they’ll need to advocate on the projects behalf during the decision making process.
See links below to Step 1 & 2 in case you missed them.
STEP 3: Craft Your ERP Project Case Correctly
Once you’ve done the right kind of research and established your ‘champion’, it’s time to concentrate on crafting your ERP business case / proposal.
The key thing here is to remember your audience, be succinct, and focus on answering one fundamental question – Why Now?
Time and time again, companies decide to stall an ERP implementation because of the imbalance between what they know, versus what they don’t. They know it’s a risk. They know it’s going to be costly. They also know that it’s going to take months of work.
What they don’t know is whether the rewards will be worth it!
So, admit that there are concerns. Address the anticipated risks (ROI timing / operational disruption / 3rd party integration/ security / etc.), and counterbalance each risk with details on the return.
Articulate the rewards by bullet pointing specific reasons why the project is needed NOW.
We’re all drowning in spreadsheets. It’s causing errors and wasting valuable time (cite examples/facts/figures). With ERP all key data would automatically be pulled through our systems, eradicating the need for spreadsheets and duplication of efforts.
The current system is preventing scale and growth. Last month we had to turn away a project because we couldn’t fulfil it. ERP will allow us to improve decision making, giving us visibility on stock flow and labour costs that we currently don’t have.
Poor data flow between departments is causing errors (cite examples) and costing the company money (again, examples!).
Current [named] competitors/suppliers have the edge over us because….,
Customers are sourcing elsewhere because…insert specific facts/examples.,
Clearly answer the ‘What Does Our Company Gain?’ question.
Cite specific improvements / value that will be delivered through ERP and (again) remember to include specific facts / figures for your company wherever possible.
We’ll have more competitive advantage because…
We will be able to offer more services such as…
Decision making will improve because we will have real time information on stock levels, x, y, & z.
By getting things right 1st time, every time, we’ll decrease costs, improve customer satisfaction &… etc.
An integrated business system will provide us with new operational capabilities to…. (include specific examples).
Next, include baseline information around the potential solutions you’ve identified, but don’t make the mistake of prioritising solution specifications over the reasons WHY you need the solution in the first place.
Taking up your audience’s valuable time with an overload of data on the differences between Epicor V’s SAP V’s NetSuite V’s whatever, will only serve to confuse and augment perceived risk at this early stage of the process.
So, with all that said, inclusions in your ERP business case should include:
Why [insert company name] Needs ERP NowSummary of why the lack of ERP is hindering current process and future growth.
Internal & External Factors Driving the need for ERPSpecific, data driven commentary on both the internal and external factors /pain points driving the need for ERP.
What [insert company name] will Specifically Gain from ERPScope out the project requirements and develop a data driven list of how ERP will improve your company’s specific operations, increase sales channels, improve supplier & customer relationships, and reduce CAPEX / OPEX in the long term.
Take care to include improvements that will resonate with each stakeholder and decision maker.
Solution OptionsBriefly outline your top 3 – 5 ERP solution offerings. Cite the pro’s and con’s of each solution when set against your core requirements, and include ballpark upfront, recurring and TCO cost estimations.
Don’t get bogged down in technical data (include this in the document appendix if required) or cut and paste information from the vendors website or sales collateral. Technical data and sales spiel will only serve to clog your plan with information that’s irrelevant to this stage of the process.
Think about ranking each solution against the same set of criteria so that you, and your audience, can easily discern differences. Make sure to rank for costs, core, and bonus functionality, references, support, and the providers local or global reach (as this will be important as your company grows).
Next StepsList the steps needed to drive the project forward and make sure to include a proposed timeline. (Note: I’ll be posting a blog soon with recommendations on this)
Why Now (Conclusion)Conclude with a detailed list of the improvements and benefits that the ERP implementation will have on the company, making sure to include a short-medium-long term timeline, and improvements within each of your stakeholder functions.
To include your research sources, solution specifics, etc.
Written by Leeann Matthews, June 2022