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How to choose your ERP project team… and bridal party

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Planning my wedding has required a lot of decision making: selecting a venue, dress, flowers and more. Choosing my bridal party was an important decision that I was especially looking forward to making. Similarly, companies that have decided to evaluate cloud-based ERPs to replace their existing platforms require a project team that brings expertise from across the company to bear. In both cases, you can’t choose everyone to be part of your “big day” and must narrow it down to the handful of people to be on the front lines. So how do you choose who will accompany you? Below are five things to consider:

  • Determine project team size: I knew early on I wanted a small bridal party. I picked a combination of four family members and friends who have not only known me since childhood but have remained active in my adult life. During a cloud-based ERP selection, it is important to strike a balance between institutional knowledge with a detailed understanding of day-to-day operations. You can have as many (or few) people involved in the process. There is no magic formula to help you arrive at the optimal size, the scope and size of functional areas, as well as the complexity of your organization, may drive the number up or down.
  • Set expectations: What role do you want your bridal party to play? Is it enough for them to purchase their bridesmaids’ dress and show up at the alter? Several employees may express interest in participating in this strategic initiative but cannot commit to attending numerous discovery workshops, weekly status meetings and multiple days of vendor demonstrations. Before choosing your evaluation panel, it is helpful to determine the level of effort for key activities as well as their timing to set expectations and avoid scheduling conflicts.
  • Consider other roles: Beyond the bridal party, there are plenty of ways to get people involved. I enlisted some very important people to be readers at our Mass or usher in guests and participate in a special Filipino ceremony. Put together a list of roles that will help you involve those who are passionate about the project. This could include steering committee members, subject matter experts or change champions. More may not always better; involving more people increases the complexity of managing schedules and opinions..
  • Empower them: As my sister’s maid of honor, I hosted a Kate Spade inspired bridal shower brunch. But as far as my own pre-wedding festivities were concerned, I left it up to her very capable hands to lead the planning. Your company’s ERP project team should feel like they can express their opinions about a product in order to arrive at the best solution for your organization. Identifying an executive sponsor to back the initiative politically and financially is another key in successfully recommending and deploying a new system.
  • Add a professional: In a prior blog post, I outlined a number of benefits to having a wedding planner on my side. It is unlikely that your resources and other stakeholders can dedicate their time fully to the cloud-based ERP selection—augment your internal team with external consultants to help the meet tight deadlines, liaise with vendors, provide expertise in the modern solutions and build consensus when compromise is necessary.

 

Your bridesmaids will be there to support you on your big day, but more importantly, throughout your marriage. By choosing the right resources to define requirements, evaluate the marketplace and provide recommendations, you are sure to have advocates of the new system well after you say “I do.”

 

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About Author

Nicole Fleischmann
Nicole Fleischmann

As a leader of the Systems Strategy & Selection service offering, Nicole executes client initiatives to define enterprise system strategies and evaluate alternatives to existing applications. She leverages over 10 years of experience in accounting operations and business analysis to enable organizations to meet their technology objectives.

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