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Greetings. I’m back with another product-agnostic thought leadership entry, intended to be shared with CFO’s, CEO’s and other executives who are going through what we term is the ERP and Business Software Lifecycle. We advise our clients independently through this Lifecycle. The Lifecycle ranges in activities from setting project governance parameters and development of project charters, to documenting requirements, evaluating and selecting vendors, and eventually implementing and optimizing the solutions. It’s what we do, every day.

QUESTION:  if you had the opportunity to share your thoughts about ERP and CRM project successes (or failures) with major software vendor owners and executives, what would you say?

Perhaps you’ve been burned by a bad implementation or sales experience in your capacity as a CFO, CIO, or similar role. In such case, you’d likely have pitfalls and warnings to share. Better yet – maybe you’ve had a positive experience with a software sale and implementation. Thus, you would have some fundamental success factor recommendations to share. Either way – do we all agree that it’s best to have synchronicity about good practices among the client, and the vendors they rely on as “partners”? Probably so.

In that light, in the last month I had the opportunity to lead discussions at meetings held by 2 of the largest ERP and CRM software publishers; each meeting focused on ERP and CRM Project Success Factors. The audiences were a) executives who own and manage ERP and CRM software implementation firms; and b) sales executives responsible for ERP and CRM sales and client success.

Before I share project success factors, recall that our ERP and Software Lifecycle Services team at SingerLewak is product-agnostic, and we are retained by clients to help them through software lifecycle experiences. Our team leads the client from setting project governance, development of requirements and procurement of software, all the way through oversight of the implementation and ultimately software optimization. In this role, we are ALWAYS seated at the OPPOSITE side of the project table from the very vendor personnel that we were able to have these client-success oriented dialogs with last month

I’m happy to report that the meetings we had with executives and sales representatives from both publishers were productive, constructive, very interactive and ended with everyone in sync on the success factors that I’m about to share. Before I do, however, I asked you a question at the beginning. Answer that question before you review our suggested success factors below, and see how much we are in sync. I’d welcome your input! We put this list together to illustrate the key factors to a successful software sale and implementation experience for all parties involved, based on our many years of independent advisory services in this area.

Without further build-up – here are what we believe are the Top 6 ERP and CRM Project Success Factors:

  1. Planning, Readiness, Expectations, Change Management, Charter
  2. Tone at the Top: Governance, Commitment
  3. Experience with software projects and industry
  4. Technical Skills – inside, outside – and your “A Team”
  5. Soft C’s: Collaboration and Communication
  6. Product (yes, it’s last)

For those of you who have read my postings over the years, located here, the specific points in the list above should read quite familiar to you. If you’re headed into or are struggling during an ERP or CRM implementation or upgrade project, I encourage you to review them. Of course, you can always email me and I’m happy to talk through these with you, and would welcome you to share your experiences, too.

Looking forward to sharing more soon.