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The importance of customer involvement in making a successful ERP implementation

Customer involvement is an important and essential factor in an ERP project. Postponement and deficiencies can often be due to lack of right customer involvement. It is therefore critical that you as a customer see and understand this, and prioritize to be sufficient involved in your ERP project and not relaying totally on your vendor. What do you achieve by being involved? Consider the arguments and advices below to make sure your resources are involved in the right way and is on the agenda to the project owner, steering committee and project manager.

Customer should take responsibility and lead in the project

In too many projects the vendor controls the project with a technology mindset. Their focus is often getting the technical solution to work without defects and according to your requirements. Make sure the contract reflects the responsibility with right ownership and lead on your side. This will make it more natural to include important change activities normally out of vendors scope in the project plan and on the steering committee's agenda. Otherwise this can be easily forgotten with a troublesome transformation as a result.

Better quality on the final product and increased project productivity
Quality is improved by having continuous clarification of topics and enabling and facilitating vendor communication with those knowing the business, therefore getting answers in a timely manner and reducing the risk for misunderstandings. The increased frequency of communication between you as a customer and the vendor, helps the vendor to get a far better understanding of your needs, and because of this, quality increases. Structured and facilitated communication will also lead to reduced bottlenecks in the information retrieval and decision making, and ultimately it will increase the project productivity and efficiency.

Project organization should be sufficiently staffed with customer resources

Specifically, this is important with project roles responsible for decision making. These resources will get important training in and experience with the new solution. They have influence on business process decision and system configuration and will advocate the new solution by being a link to the business organization. Try to consider the future and the landscape after go-live - those with a governing role should be assigned to the project to ease the transformation.

Going through a carefully considered and highly profiled ERP implementation with a sufficient level of customer involvement, could prove to be the essential step and investment your project needs to succeed. The involvement not only allows for increased quality and project efficiency, but it can also be an important part of getting your entire company excited for the solution and eager to use it. It is crucial to focus on this in the ERP implementation process, and it's vital that you take it as seriously as every other aspect of your project.

By Akselera | 14 November 2017

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