The pressure and workload involved in introducing a new ERP system, achieving go-live and a system that is working day to day, may, justifiably, be the cause of great relief or preferably, celebration. And that’s fair enough. But in many ways getting the system up and running is only the first step.

When Fenwick runs a Rapid Implementation Workshop at the start of a project we have a section where we try to define three types of deliverables:

  • Project Objectives
  • Business Objectives
  • Business Benefits

It’s not always easy to work through this section and come up with lists of clear objectives and benefits, but it is important as this exercise reveals why the company is really taking on the work, and cost, and disruption, involved in implementing a new system. No organisation endures the cost and pain of a system implementation just for the bragging rights of being able to say, “We have a new system.” They do it to provide benefits to the organisation, its customers, and its staff. So let’s have a look at some examples of objectives and benefits:

Project Objectives will revolve around implementing the various components of the software system, and associated procedures and work practices, on-time and within a defined budget – achieving go-live and a system that operates day to day.

Business Objectives might include: implementing Just-in-Time inventory; removing the occurrence of incorrect invoicing; decrease the occurrence of incorrect order shipment to below 1% of total orders, and so on.

Achieving these Business Objectives should result in quantifiable Business Benefits (the pay-back or return on investment).

Business Benefits can include (aligned with the Business Objectives above): reducing the value of stock held by 20%; saving $80K in the annual cost of part-time clerical staff; saving $35k in the annual costs involved in rectifying incorrect shipments, and increasing customer satisfaction to 98%.

As you can see from the examples, achieving go-live is the sum of the Project Objectives. That should then lead to achieving the Business Objectives and, finally, the Business Benefits. By working through this process, your team will have a clear understanding of why you are implementing a new system, and you will have created a good story to tell all your staff that will help to secure their buy-in.

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Written By Peter R Hill

Peter has been in the Information Services industry for more than forty years with broad experience covering a number of industries working in both Australia and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from LaTrobe University. For seventeen years Peter headed and was a director of the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) a not-for-profit organisation with a mission of improving the performance of IT through the provision of project history data. He has served on a number of Boards of IT companies. In 2010 Peter became an non-executive director of Fenwick Software. Peter has been a speaker at conferences in Australia, Asia, Europe, Brazil and the USA.   He has had a number of articles published, covering key aspects of the Information Services industry.  He is a past Chairman, Secretary and Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is a member of the Committee of Management of Writers Victoria. Peter has compiled and edited five books, including: "Practical Software Project Estimation"  published by McGraw-Hill. In his leisure time, Peter enjoys motor sport and writing.

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