By Vjekoslav Babic, NAV Consultant, Microsoft Services
Why are ERP projects so often so disruptive in organizations that are otherwise accustomed to managing and planning all variety of marketing and manufacturing projects?
The reason is simple: companies implementing ERP don't specialize in project management, and they rarely have a dedicated or a formally trained project manager. They are also purchasing products and services that they often know little about, and effectively they don't do project management in its traditional sense.
Companies that have no project or project management experience are by large functional organizations, which is by itself a risky environment for projects. But with ERP, the risk is multiplied, because ERP projects are almost exclusively cross-functional and they span several functions at the same time. All disadvantages of functional organization structure come screaming at you:
(A perfect storm, eh?)
Typically, the problems come to a head when the organization implementing ERP spends several times as much time on a project as the consultancy: one consultant often works with several users, and for one consumed consultant/day the customer spends several man/days of their own effort. The inevitable disruption occurs at three levels:
I may be totally wrong, I haven't built any roads or researched cure for AIDS after all, but I believe these disruptive elements rarely happen, or at least rarely come together, in many other project disciplines. ERP projects put enormous pressure on organizations which don't specialize and don't have (enough) experience in projects. Ignoring the disruptive nature of ERP projects can easily lead to failed projects.
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