ERP Implementation - What is expected from you?

Often, I have seen discussions happening between the business users, the implementation partner and the IT Team in an organization on who will do what and this becomes one of the bottlenecks in success of a project. Lately, when I was addressing a CIO Conference on the subject of transforming business with the help of ERP and advanced ERP products implementation, this question popped up again and forced me to try and document expectations from each team so that it can work as working standard for the organizations as well as IT vendors.  I will be publishing my understanding of expectations from each team in the next series of posts as I think I have the requisite experience and exposure to ERP implementations in all roles viz. Business User, IT Consultant as well as a CIO across the globe and in multiple industries. To start-with, let me try to put together the expectations (in-fact I would like to mention small activities also which the other two teams expect from the 3rd team) from the IT Team of the organization which is implementing an ERP Solution. I have divided the expectations in 3 major sections that are given below:

Pre-Implementation Expectations from IT Team:
  • Finalize broad scope of work, create and float RFP to potential partners
  • Select product and its fitment into existing architecture, footprint, industry and solution
  • Evaluate Vendor proposals on technical competence, past experience and commercials
  • Arrange executive sponsorship, drive steering committee creation in the organization
  • Drive creation of core user group from all stakeholder teams in the organization
  • Arrange for logistics like sitting area of core users, implementation partner team, desktops, phones etc.
  • Decide on project plan, major milestones and key success factors with steering committee 
  • Plan for Application Instance Strategy (Development, Test etc.)
During Implementation Expectations from IT Team:
  • Organize business users and implementation partner teams interactions
  • Drive sign-offs from business on requirements and other major project milestones
  • Monitor project success vis-à-vis project plan
  • Arrange all requisite IT infrastructure for the project
  • Decide on data upload strategy (how much data, from which systems, by when etc.)
  • Extract data from legacy systems and arrange cleaning by core user team
  • Provide inputs on solution fitment into existing solution
  • Provide inputs on key design elements
  • Approve/Reject Customization(s) suggested by implementation vendor
  • Freeze requirements
  • Arrange business users participation during key milestones like Solution Design & Demonstration, Testing etc.
  • Arrange training for core team users by implementation partners
  • Ensure proper staffing of resources by implementation partner
  • Arrange steering committee meetings for project health check regularly
  • Ensure core team users impart training to other intended users
  • Drive change management steps in the organization for faster acceptance of new application
  • Plan production cutover testing and planned downtime as per application instance strategy
  • Review key success factors delivery by implementation partner
  • Take final sign-offs from core team for going LIVE
  • Drive steering committee for GO LIVE readiness decision
Post Implementation Expectations from IT Team:
  • Hand hold business users to run the new system for first month
  • Set-up central help desk for post implementation related issues and queries
  • Monitor and resolve any IT infrastructural related issues
  • Handle change management issues with the help of steering committee
  • Arrange short refresher trainings for end users to reduce mistakes in new application
  • Ensure proper documentation of project is provided by implementation partner
  • Ensure complete and proper knowledge transfer from implementation partner to application support team

If I can get valuable inputs from readers, I would like to add/delete/modify to these working standards do that it really becomes useful tool for the organizations and vendors alike and helps in making ERP Projects more successful for all stakeholders.

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