10 ERP Tips from College CIOs for All CIOs

Don't go to the school of hard knocks; learn from those who've already been there.

  1. Make sure you analyze and define business processes first; then choose the system that will work best for your organization.
  2. Don't forget about training; if people don't know how to use the system, they won't.
  3. Test the system for traffic loads that represent your actual traffic, especially during peak times.
  4. Don't buy all of your ERP systems from one vendor: A best-of-breed approach can work better because not all of one vendor's modules may best fit your needs.
  5. Don't go live with an implementation or upgrade at a crucial time of year (higher ed: avoid the weeks before classes start; retail: avoid the weeks before Christmas).
  6. Make as few modifications to the source codes possible.
  7. Keep an eye on scope creep. It's much worse on campus than in the Fortune 500.
  8. Before you sign a contract with an integrator, have the integrator conduct trials with the software on your systems to see if they will mesh. It costs a bit more, but it's worth it.
  9. Use certified project managers on your staff to run the implementation—not just the person in the room who starts taking notes at the first meeting.
  10. ERP needs constant human interaction (ideally from CIOs) to keep it up and running. Ninety-five percent of getting ERP right is social and political skills; 5 percent is the actual technology.
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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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