10 rules for a successful ERP project

At any moment, we have a number of ERP projects going. We decided to review all our recent ones to share what we’ve learned. It comes down to 10 key points, a nice, neat number:

1. Work out your business strategy. The ERP itself is not your business strategy. It’s a way of supporting it. So what is your strategy? And will the ERP move it forward?

2. Clarify the leadership. Make sure that a C-suite leader is accountable for making this project happen. And make sure they’re focused on outcomes, not just the technology.

3. Communicate a clear vision. Make sure that everyone is genuinely on board and that there are specific, measurable objectives.

4. Prioritize the project. The project will require leadership, budgets, and time from experts around the business, so make people are covering their usual responsibilities—and yes, that means other things get deprioritized.

5. Focus on customer value. Ensure your new system focuses on your points of difference. For the rest, let the product define your process.

6. Use rational criteria to manage the project. Select suppliers and tech in a balanced, analytical, and systematic way, always with an eye on outcomes.

7. Sort out people, process, and organizational issues. A big, new project is an opportunity to resolve internal problems. Get on top of these first or you’ll just end up back where you started.

8. Put data first. Get clarity on your reporting needs so you know your data needs. Make sure this is a core part of the plan and that the team knows it.

9. Sort out after-management. Establish a budget and ownership for the new system after it’s live, so it stays useful.

10. Do you even need an ERP project? Very often fixing the above issues first will help you get value out of your current systems, avoiding the need for a costly replacement! See our Business Insight, Do you actually need an ERP project?


If you want to know more about our experience of implementing ERP systems — or not implementing them! — please do get in touch.

Visit our Knowledge Centre: ERP and Integration Issues for more no-nonsense advice.