The Value of Strategic Implementation Planning

Strategic Implementation Planning provides clients with multiple benefits above and beyond just implementing their ERP system.  Some of the benefits align specifically to the project while others have greater benefits to the organization as a whole.  To understand these benefits we will frame them across three dimensions: Leadership Alignment, Strategic Readiness, and Workforce Experience.  By focusing on these areas, you will experience a reduced risk to implementation including the potential reduction in change orders, delays to project completion, and aligned decision making.  Additionally, these areas will lead to increased value to users (leaders, managers, employees, contingent workers) and increase the value to return-on-investment (ROI). 

Leadership Alignment:

Your new system is designed to support the Enterprise.  By nature, it has components that will be used heavily by departments across HR, Payroll, and Finance as well as other groups that support data analytics, project resourcing, and supply chain/procurement.  This requires a set of strong guiding principles that are agreed to across the leadership team over these functions.  What do you achieve when you have strong, articulated, leadership alignment?

  • Project teams that are resource constrained have a foundation upon which to make decisions, and reduce re-decisioning, which enables a more efficient and effective participation of customer resources on a project
  • Leadership teams are able to stay at the appropriate level of detail and involvement on a project because they have set clear guidelines and empowered their teams to make decisions within their authority purview
  • Roadblocks to success have pre-defined escalation paths, and plans for mitigation, providing a foundation for roadblocks that can be navigated with ease to ensure they are speed bumps not derailers, reducing risk to the implementation timeline. 

Strategic Readiness:

Just as the new system is designed to support the enterprise, there are key areas that are the foundation for a successful implementation.  Systems provide the most benefit to the organization when it is able to store, process, analyze, share, and display data in the most consumable manner possible.  What are the benefits of Strategic Readiness on your implementation?

  • The old adage of garbage-in-garbage-out still holds true with modern systems.  To prevent replicating poor data issues of the past, it is important to review your data not just in context of what it takes to convert it but how do you manage it both during an implementation and ongoing.  Defining your data stewards, data governance, data sources, data definitions, and other data management components allows you to take a holistic look at how you want to best capitalize on your data as a business driver.
  • The data in the system is only as good as the data you can get out of the system, so it is important to have a clear strategy for how data will be shared between your core system and other systems.  With the prevalence of middle-ware or API management tools, the days of building direct point-to-point integrations for every system relationship are dwindling.  By looking holistically at all your upstream and downstream providers and consumers of data, you can design an integration architecture that can support changes and growth in your organization.
  • Decision making is enhanced when reporting and analytics are embedded in your design.  With enterprise systems that reduce the need to “integrate” disparate data sets to produce a cohesive picture of the organization, the number of audit reports designed to make sure data makes it from one system to the next is greatly reduced.  This affords the organization the opportunity to focus on the future of reporting and analytics during their implementation, decreasing your time to ROI.

Workforce Experience:

The workforce is made up of a variety of personas within an organization: employee, contingent worker, managers, and executives.  Focusing on Strategic Implementation Planning before beginning design creates a framework to identify your value propositions across stakeholder groups and stay focused during deployment on how to achieve that value.

  • The technology the workforce uses to support their work is frequently a web of interconnected systems that are not always known to be connected, but just known to “work.”  In defining the scope of an implementation, frequently organizations look at lists of systems in isolation (list of integrations, list of reports, list of other systems) instead of reviewing them in context of how work gets done.  By taking an end-to-end look at processes, you reduce the risk of missing a key component of that web needed to support your workforce.
  • Organizations undergo technology changes for a variety of reasons: consolidation of vendors, enhanced workflow capabilities, better data analytics, as well as an enhanced relationship with customers, vendors, and partners.  When organizational transformation is based on digital transformation, it is critical to align how your ERP lines up with all your other initiatives. Too much change with not enough focus on how to manage it, can inhibit user adoption of any one of your systems, creating a perception of failure of the system to deliver. Understanding these complex relationships, and planning an aligned change management approach, increase your opportunities for successful user adoption sooner rather than later.
  • Changes in technology necessitate changes in how we do our jobs.  This applies both to the workforce responsible for us delivering goods and services to customers, and to the staff that is responsible for making sure the workforce has what it needs to be successful.  Focusing on changes to Service Delivery Model during an implementation ensures you are able to align your new system to the new way of getting work done and reduce the risk of re-work after you move into a steady state.

There are a lot of reasons to undertake Strategic Implementation Planning.  But ultimately making sure your project is setup for success from the beginning with a focus on the end-state increases your value proposition to all stakeholders.

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