Global ERP Rollouts: Management Secrets

How can you smooth the way for local implementations? Members of the CIO Executive Council share their winning strategies.

Your ERP rollout is global. But as you work with offices around the world, remember that all ERP is local, say IT leaders who've been there. Consider this expert advice from IT leaders on the CIO Executive Council:

Jeri Dunn, Bacardi

Consider the Whole Office your Change Network

A big challenge with smaller offices is the limited number of people you have to work with to effect change. During our recent Asia-Pacific implementations, we deployed ERP in sites as small as Singapore and Taiwan. Offices this small don’t have a person solely dedicated to change management, so my team makes it a priority to identify early in the implementation process who the change champions are going to be. We look beyond our ERP guru and system integrators, since project success depends on an entire network of change agents. In some cases, your champion may not even be in favor of the deployment at first. For those who are most against the project, we get them in the room with us rather than have them remain outside throwing stones at us. The reality is that change management during ERP is the hard stuff—you can’t skimp on managing it.

We consider the entire office part of the larger change network. They all need to be immersed in the project from the beginning so they feel an ownership stake in the outcome. From day one of the ERP implementation, we meet with the local office staff, describing in detail how their life is going change. We involve them in the blueprinting sessions and integration testing, and then work to identify super-users for the full training sessions.

Clif Triplett, Baker Hughes

Avoid Distrust through Local Governance

It's critical to oversee business stakeholder buy-in at the local level. Upon entering a smaller region, an important step for the team led by my director of business development services, Robert Harbert, is to create a governance structure to avoid local conflict and distrust. The governance group consists of local and regional management from operations and finance, the IT project leader, other relevant local stakeholders, and IT leadership from the central deployment services group. Determining the appropriate amount of ongoing dialogue with stakeholders in these smaller regions has been a challenge. To address this issue, we now hold a combination of regular meetings and teleconferences with different audiences—the local user groups, key stakeholders, implementation team and management chain. This may appear to be excessive, but it’s advantageous to maintaining focus on the goal.

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