As companies make the transition from small to mid-size it represents a unique requirement and opportunity to mature, evolve and standardize their systems and processes. Over the years, with experience in different parts of the business including IT, I've learned to appreciate how ERP projects can be the catalyst that helps transform organizations and take them to the next level. As you know, the change associated with an ERP project can be significant. Yet, if managed well, can also be the turning point that companies need at this point in their evolution and maturity.
As we wrap up the business case development for a new LF client we are now facing a new challenge. How to educate and align the senior leaders in the organization on the cost, value and opportunities represented in the business case. Thankfully, the business case is highlighting a positive return and a reasonable payback period. Risks, costs and benefits have been fully modeled and are supporting the recommendation that a new Tier 1 ERP investment does indeed make sense for this company. A business process analysis (requirements gathering) and selection (RFP) process would be natural next steps.
Most everyone in the organization understands that change and system improvements are needed. Many are looking forward to the relief that would come with improved systems/data integration and automated business processes. Others are concerned that this degree of change could be a significant distraction and may not deliver the improvements promised. The challenge for the senior management team is how to sufficiently deepen their understanding of not only how this ERP investment can generate value and resolve a lot of their pain points but, what is the ideal timing? When does it make sense to invest, design and implement? How does that support and align with the company's long term objectives and strategies? Financially, is the company in a position to handle the impact of such a significant investment?
The good news this week is that an upcoming strategy session is forcing the senior management team to think deeply about what they'd like to achieve over the next 5 - 10 years. Once the lofty objectives are thrown out on the table, such as "double our market cap and production over the next five years", the natural next question is, what would it take and what would we need to do differently in order to achieve such a lofty goal? We, as a project team, must be having some success at socializing the concept and importance of ERP since the evolving strategy presentations are now all pointing to the fact that an investment in systems, processes and people is going to be key to their success. Without using those three letters (ERP) this is creating the ideal opening for ERP as a solution. A solution that can not be seen as an IT project but rather a pivotal "business project". One that will indeed transform the company's systems, processes and capabilities while enabling and taking the company to the next level.
If it goes ahead, and it looks like it will, this will be an exciting, and no doubt painful (that old phrase comes to mind, "no pain, no gain") event that will be a critical part of this company's history. We can't wait to get started!