We’re currently teaming with a US-based mid-market electronics manufacturer that is actively searching for a new ERP system, and as part of the engagement, the ERP Implementation Charter has emerged as a necessary ingredient for success.
At the outset of the ERP project, key drivers for ERP selection and evaluation related to improving core business processes and overall access to information. As an example, with the current legacy solution, mission-critical data doesn’t move easily from one core functional area to another. In fact, there are many cases of multiple entry of the same data into different screens and stand-alone spreadsheets. Staff members are forced to manually generate a large number of reports and output documents, with data tracking and documentation taking place outside of the current ERP system.
Thus, the ERP selection project focused on the company’s need for quick, flexible access to information in order to improve business decisions and business performance. The mission of the project was to improve the business by implementing a new integrated information system and business intelligence system that improves the productivity of the business users and provides better information for company operations.
Enter the ERP Implementation Charter
After all the early selection activities including business process mapping, current and future state analysis, and other key selection methodologies, our attention turned to the ERP Implementation Charter.
An ERP Implementation Charter is the governance document for the implementation and completion of the ERP project after selection takes place.
The implementation charter defines the roles and responsibilities of the implementation partners, i.e. the ERP vendor consulting and solutions team, the manufacturer, Ultra’s team and other participants. It defines roles and deliverables that are distinct, or might be shared between the vendor, the manufacturing company and other parties.
An ERP Implementation Charter is used to monitor the vendor’s performance during the various stages of ERP implementation, noting the agreed upon terms and milestones. The implementation charter is a great tool for accountability and project tracking for not only the manufacturing company, but for all parties involved in the project.
Items contained in a typical Implementation Charter include the following:
- A thorough overview of the company, products and markets
- An analysis of the project mission, objectives and business case for change
- Critical success factors of the implementation
- Project risks
- Project organization, team assignments
- Project scope
- Required interfaces and scope
- Data conversion requirements and timeline
- Enhancements and personalizations
- Technology management
- Legacy extension strategy
- Project plan
- Change Management benchmarks
- Quality Assurance (QA) tasks
- Project budget
ERP Implementation Charter Guidance
Ultra’s team of independent ERP consultants has much to offer when it comes to establishing the ERP Implementation Charter. With Ultra’s assistance in establishing an effective charter, the document makes the vendor accountable for what they promise to deliver, and builds in a process for the manufacturing company to appeal situations that are not up to the agreed upon terms. Our experience helps us create charters that build in checks and appropriate timing for preventive actions or actions that can mitigate the negative outcome.
Having Ultra involved in this process adds additional benefits. As an example, we’re able to draw upon our significant experience guiding mid-market companies to achieve real ROI and value from the implementation. That’s our focus: not just bringing in new software.
Additionally, as independent and experienced implementation managers, we can often see problems, roadblocks or potential delays developing before the manufacturing company realizes they should be concerned. We serve as their confidant and voice to the vendor – an “advocate” if you will. In much the same way, the value we provide to the vendor is gathering and organizing a significant amount of insight into the manufacturing company organization’s culture, issues and needs. It’s a “win-win” for all involved.
When an ERP Implementation Charter is carefully assembled with critical inputs, the result is a more effective implementation and faster time to value.
You can read about ERP Project Charters via an archived blog post entitled: “Organizing an ERP Project? Don’t Forget the Project Charter.”
Issues related to ERP implementations are further explored in Ultra’s timely white paper entitled “Best Practices for an Effective ERP Implementation.”
Please share your experiences using an ERP Implementation Charter in the comments section below.