What Contributes More to the Success of an ERP Project: the Right Software or the Right Implementation Approach?

Editor's Note: Tim Hourigan will be leading a session at Decisions Fall 2010 on November 2 and 3.

While almost all ERP buyers spend a great deal of time analyzing the functional differences between competing products, they seem to spend very little time scrutinizing how each product will be implemented. Often buyers just assume that all vendor implementation approaches are the same and simply compare total estimates to make their solution selection. This is a big mistake and a common reason why so many ERP projects under-deliver on their intended ROI.

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About Tim Hourigan

Tim Hourigan, Enterprise Practice Co-Lead and Microsoft Dynamics Practice Partner for Armanino LLP - has over twenty years of business and IT project management and systems integration consulting experience for high-growth companies in the Life Sciences, High-Tech, and Business Services industries. Prior to joining Armanino, Tim was a Consulting Partner at Accenture where he served as both a client partner and the CRM & Billing Capability Industry Domain Lead for North America. His background includes extensive IT strategy, business architecture design and software selection client work.

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Not just the right approach, but the right Implementer as well

Great stuff Tim, and right on the money. The other thing I'd add is the importance of the implementer, and that there is continuity and accountability from the sales process through the implementation and beyond. First time ERP/CRM buyers tend to focus a lot on the flashy demo and getting the lowest price. But once you've got some experience with this, the strength of the implementor becomes a/the top concern.
More here: http://www.partnercompete.com/Home/6444

Jason Carter
PartnerCompete.com

As they say, its all about the right partner

Very relevant points here and communicated very succinctly too. Its amazing how many customers make the 'mistake' of spending huge time on selecting the vendor/product and then 'back off' when the implementation comes along.

Here are some of my pointers:

1. Usually i clearly mark the tasks that i expect my clients to own on the indicative project plan itself. This is even before the deal is signed. The idea is to set expectations that they need to work with us as opposed to leave it to us (implementer) to deal with everything. Typically, the more closely the client is involved in implementation, the higher the quality of implementation.

2. Unlike what's mentioned in Item#2 with respect to data migration, user training, user acceptance testing etc. I do think they are ERP dependent to a large extent. Having been involved with multiple ERPs over the last decade, i have never found this to be independent. data migration for SAP is not quite the same as data migration for AX.

3. I cant emphasize the importance of choosing the 'right' partner often enough. 'Right' being the right fit for the client in question. even if you have the approach, hiring resources(and DIY) to do the implementation is not quite the same as a partner driving it.