Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Issues in ERP project Management

Every organization and its culture is unique. No two organizations have an identical culture organizations structure. Given such a scenario, it is natural for them to skeptical about ERP, since it is felt that their businesses are unique , organizations varying and cultures different. However, an ERP package has been designed and is being continually upgraded to incorporate the best industry practices to suit most industry segments. With a proper and dedicated BPR study, as discussed in the previous chapter, adopting the ERP shall help make things easier. If this methodology is not followed, it has been seen with experience that most of the time users are left frustrated. This leads to poor participation and costly delays.
                    It is important to understand that an ERP package cannot fit completely with the existing business practices of most organizations and hence, the onus is on the users to appreciate this fact and to work with the implementation consultants in trying to adapt to the package. In doing so, they are they are not compromising on their business effectiveness, rather, by embracing the package, they are adopting the best of breed business practices and ensuring the successful implementation of the new system.
                      As soon as the ERP package is implemented, it is natural for the users to expect a reduction in their workload and the users also expect miracles to happen. But this does not happen unilaterally. An ERP package is only an enabling tool and improves the flow of information and formalizes all the business processes and workflow that exists in an organization. It helps users to do their jobs better, which may call for additional efforts. If one has to have more information in a system, it entails more work for some users, but the benefits is that this information is properly stored and can be fruitfully used by other users in making better decisions. As the flow of information throughout the organization improves, the company starts performing better and this in turn benefits the users who have collectively improved their way of working. The package design and the architecture facilities the availability of information to all authorized users in a useful way.
                       Another important factor is the role of the consultant. The consultants by virtue of their industry experience and package expertise can help set the expectations of users at various levels keeping in mind the overall business objectives of the client. But it is also important to remember that a consultant is an external agent and all the business process of the organization are more akin to the internal core team and the users than the consultant. The consultant, however, can work closely with key users, understanding there needs, analyzing the business realities and designing solutions that meet the basic objectives of the company. The consultants and in-house MIS Department ‘s responsibility is to guide them in this task and facilitate the overall implementation process. In essence, ERP implementation process. In essence, ERP implementation is a predominantly a ‘User Driven’ project.
             Many time, various organizations tend to ask for a change in the ERP package in terms of source code, etc., and the changes could lead to a major functionality change. In some cases, it may be impossible to proceed with the overall project without carrying out a certain change. In such cases, it may be deemed necessary to customize. However, it is important to understand that customization is not expected to be  the focus area of implementation . It is recommended that user requirements and overall business objectives should be met within the existing framework of the standard package. The reason being, any change in an integrated system has an adverse impact on the functioning of the other modules of the system, the customization exercise has to be upgradation of the system, the customization exercise has to be repeated and consistency in changes becomes a problem. This makes it more difficult to implement the package and considerably increases the risks and throws the costs and schedules out of gear. However, it must also emphasized, that implementation without any customization is easier said than done, especially when it leaves not be met. The consultants and the top management should take on who are ultimately benefited by implementing the standard package. Users, who are the driving force behind any successful implementation. The success of an information system should be measured in terms of how completely it is accepted by its users. Many positive changes spring up as a result of user acceptance and are instantaneous. The consultants have to drive home this fact to the users and they must appreciate this reality and continue to contribute positively.
The following are the most critical issues in ERP implementation:
1)Project scope
2)Skills required in the ERP project
3)Top management role
4)Project team
5)Key project deliverables
6)Project milestones and activities
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