Companies spend millions on implementing ERP Systems like SAP every year. Many of these implementations are global in nature, integrating several business units across the world. Generally this major investment is supported by a solid business case based on expected business benefits.
But, what happens when these business benefits are not realized? You cannot go back to where you were before the implementation. You cannot unspend your money. More and more companies are tackling this exact issue today. How to exploit your investment in a large ERP system with minimal cost to drive the maximum business benefit.
You need a solid business-centric process to solve this challenge. Implementation teams are pretty good at getting complex ERP systems to go-live and then to support them after go-live. However, immediately after going live, performance, productivity and morale usually decline as people adapt to the new system and processes. This is the "DIP" in the a new system's lifecycle. Most teams are not structured, or funded to help the business recover from this dip, as this is generally not planned for. So how do companies recover from this dip to stabilize the operating environment as soon as possible; and better still - to achieve the benefits of an integrated system?
The answer is a Continuous Business Improvement process. Such a CBI process has 3 phases:
- Adopt: Business ownership of the ERP system and new business processes.
- Sustain: Business ownership of the ERP system and new business processes.
- Exploit: Drive business value through continuous improvement of the ERP system.
Successful execution of this program depends on the following key factors:
- The establishment of stewardship programs and clear links between the ERP solution and business directed initiatives at all levels of the organization.
- Formalization of methods and drivers related to identifying and prioritizing opportunities that will drive business value.
- Defined process for managing improvement opportunities and ensuring business benefits are met.
- Movement of resources from rollout/support-driven to exploitation-driven environment.