Five Lessons Learned from Nike's i2 Debacle

1 Be patient. Enterprise software implementations can’t be rushed and they take time to demonstrate benefits. Nike had the luxury?and good sense?to avoid being driven by hard external deadlines. This enabled it to learn from the mistakes it had made in its i2 project.

2 Define a business goal. Getting software up and running is not a goal; remaking the business is. Nike wanted to take three months out of its sneaker manufacturing cycle. The clarity of its business case sustained the project when things went south in 2000.

3 Reengineer processes. "Blank sheet" reengineering can lead to unrealistic business process designs that can’t be implemented through enterprise software. But deep discussions of how business is conducted can lead to something invaluable: a clear, performance-based goal for the project.

4 Just do it over. When poor integration, inadequate training, unstable software and spotty testing derailed Nike’s i2 project, Nike redoubled its efforts in those areas to avoid similar problems when it began rolling out its fully integrated enterprise software platform.

5 Keep your eye on the prize. Many companies today are trying to consolidate the separate versions of ERP they installed either to beat the Y2K deadline or to satisfy divisional managers. Nike held fast to a single-instance strategy. It added years to the project but will likely save the company money in the end.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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