ERP Software deployment program is not only an IT program but it is part of a larger business strategy and needs an equal (if not more) participation from business – a fact well established till now. Even if we follow the best of methodologies and frameworks as claimed by most ERP software vendors and service providers, it is highly recommended to do an independent exercise to identify the risks and plan their mitigation. There are some risks that only a customer organization can identify and no service provider will be able to find them as they all go with the standard list of risks that come in an ERP software deployment program.
It is important to come out with your own list of risks and mitigants and the framework for this need not be a state of art intelligent framework but a simple list of risks and mitigants with good meaningful content. Some factors that will help you indentify the risks are:
- ERP exposure: In case the exposure to ERP software does not exist or is limited in your organization, risks related to change management, business participation, ownership, reluctant testing, delay in timeline & low priority to program can come and there will be a need to plan mitigants like effective change management program, awareness creation strategy, building excitement about the new system and its benefits will help you
- Number of existing systems: In case you have multiple systems that are going to be replaced by ERP or some of them will still exist after ERP software deployment, then complexity risks, project delay potential as well as dependency on multiple teams and their schedules might pose as a challenge for the program
- Multiple businesses: More is the number of businesses; more will be different requirements, their priorities and business stakeholders. If this is added with the increased number of geographies and languages, then it is highly likely that activities like design finalization and testing will get impacted in terms of more time required by businesses to digest a standard business process and it might be required to plan mitigations to these risks beforehand
- Level of existing documentation: It will depend on the level of documentation for existing systems that how much time you will spend in incremental documentation. Not only this, whether the business team will have the time to work on the documentation or not is a risk that normally skips the minds of the ERP service providers. Plan these pro-actively
- Other factors: Factors like level of cleanliness of data, data quality in whole (consistency, accuracy and completeness), expected customizations, lack of executive support, team size-quality-availability, test scenarios identification etc. demand your time to think and check whether they can pose risks to the ERP software deployment program or not
The list is nor an exhaustive list but are those which normally a customer organization themselves can identify in a much better way than an ERP software vendor or an ERP service provider. Do spend time on them for a more successful program.