Post ERP implementation blues are problematic for a number of reasons not the least of which is the decline of the collaborative and empowered culture that the implementation tends to create. A common cause for ERP sub-optimization is that most companies do not plan sufficiently to sustain the culture required to achieve the full benefits if the system. While leaders often consider the need for ongoing technology development and maintenance, it is just as important that they plan for cultural sustainability.
Generally, leaders will make a false assumption that an ERP implementation will be plug-and- play, that performance will come naturally, and that the culture will adapt as a result of the technology. But the research is clear. Having a great company culture is no longer optional for companies who want to compete.
“If you ask a group of CIOs what their biggest barrier to change is in their organization or indeed the wider enterprise, the most common response is almost always culture or some variant thereof. In the 2018 CIO Survey, 46% of respondents named culture as the biggest barrier to scaling digital transformation. This answer isn’t surprising. But it’s also not very useful, since culture is amorphous — hard to pin down and hard to change.”
– Gartner, The Art of Culture Hacking
ERP is the backbone of an organization’s operational structure, and exists to improve information flow, reduce costs, optimize processes, link with suppliers, and reduce response times. But, to accomplish all of this, it is must also help breakdown silos, enable transparency, and ensure better cooperation. In other words, the ultimate result of a successful ERP is empowered employees and a collaborative culture. ERP implementation is just part of the complex journey. Organizations often underestimate just how much cultural heavy lifting is required to make sure the business benefits are realized post-implementation.
The good news is that an ERP refresh presents a perfect opportunity to enact real cultural transformation as well. To renew and sustain the value and achieve the benefits of your ERP, we adhere to 9 tenants of ERP cultural transformation:
- Develop a shared vision of the desired outcomes across all units.
- Hinge all decisions, roadmaps, and plans on achieving the business outcomes and realizing the business strategy.
- Make breaking down functional silos a primary goal for the program.
- Make development and sustainability of the culture part of the ERP strategy from the beginning.
- Take a top-down, holistic approach to designing and improving business processes through the system.
- Appoint a business lead as the executive sponsor and treat the implementation as a long-term business transformation initiative.
- Create a cross functional program sponsorship structure with the task of driving organizational change.
- Implement a robust, structured change management process that focuses on individual change at all levels.
- Facilitate candid, open discussions and clarity regarding cross organizational dependencies.
Download a PDF of 9 Tenets for Achieving Change through ERP Implementation
At MSS, we work with our customers to develop a transformation plan for their ERP implementation. The plan will include a shared vision, a leadership roadmap and a sponsorship coalition, a cultural implementation plan, a cross functional change strategy, and a robust sustainability plan. All of these tenets ensure a result that is more than the sum of its parts delivering high value for your transformation.
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