By Eoin Fanning, Principal Consultant at Lumenia Consulting.
Do you want the best talent the organisation has to offer? Following on from the discussion on how to get buy-in to an ERP project, our industry panellists at the last ERP HEADtoHEAD event stressed how important it is to secure the very best talent an organisation has when implementing ERP. Imagine those experienced and knowledgeable individuals who the business cannot operate without – well, they’re the resources needed for an ERP project.
Identifying and engaging with potential resources
What makes a great core team member on an ERP project? It is someone who knows the business process better than most, is bought into the concept of technology transformation and, because such projects are difficult to do part-time, is willing to leave their day job for an extended period. It is likely that such people are already quite busy and may, over time have learned to be good at saying no. Be wary of those who tend to say yes too easily – they may not understand the intensity of work required and subsequently let you down when they become overloaded.
A potential resource when asked may say “I’ll do it if my boss tells me it’s a priority” or they may try to avoid your project altogether. Their boss will be reluctant to commit one of their best resources if it affects their day-to-day obligations, at least without a conversation first, so it may be appropriate to approach either the manager, the resource, or both. How exactly to do this will depend on the type of relationships with both but before approaching any potential resource, make a reasonable calculation of the level of effort required to do the work, allow some contingency and be honest. No one appreciates committing to a project for a few hours a month when it turns out that it is more likely to take several days.
Appreciate that others may not share the same passion for ERP – sadly, we are a minority. The resource owner(s) – in a matrixed organisation there may be more than one – will certainly have different priorities and may over or underestimate the scale of what is being asked. In many cases the resource themselves may actually have a better understanding of what’s required. If there is pushback, consider offering alternatives and be prepared to compromise. People who otherwise buy into the vision, but have genuine constraints, tend to react positively towards an empathetic and accommodating approach.
Look for synergies
Every organisation has competing priorities to manage and these may affect the resourcing of your project. It may be that for yours to start, another must get delayed. The opposite is true in organisations that are good at managing their portfolio of often unrelated projects, each of which draws from the same resource pool. Socialising an idea in different networks will highlight what is going on elsewhere and uncover possible synergies. If not immediately obvious, create new synergies with others (to further the business case for your project) and be prepared to modify your project’s scope or schedule to achieve them.
In business, we like to tell ourselves our decisions are made logically when nearly all our decisions are made emotionally. Fear is one such powerful emotion, so be aware of just how much fear, whether real or perceived, can affect people’s decision to sign up to your ERP project or not. For a sponsor, this is having confidence that money will be spent wisely, the project will be resourced properly, and deliverables will be met so that their reputation will not suffer. For the line manager, it is the fear that they will be left exposed back at the ranch because they released their best talent to someone else’s project. For core team members, it is the fear of repercussions if something – even if outside their control – goes wrong.
Getting the very best talent the organisation has to offer is never easy. Anticipate objections early and be ready with a response, distilling the same message as appropriate to the audience. Be clear on deliverables, roles and responsibilities. Understand that people are human so be empathetic. Finally, collaborate to get synergies, behave with integrity and be prepared to compromise.
If you are in the market for a new ERP or currently thinking about replacing your ERP solution, attend the next ERP HEADtoHEAD™ virtual event taking place on March 23 – 24 and see 14 leading ERP systems in action.
This web based event offers a unique opportunity to compare and experience leading ERP vendors and their products. Find out more by visiting the ERP HEADtoHEAD™ website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org